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COPYRIGHT 2018

This is THE VOLUME 1 AND IS FREE.


You can share this eBook Vol 1 generously to everyone
in this original form.

Do not re-edit, re-layout, copy, or print the entirety or some parts


without asking permission from the Author and The Publisher.

THE VOLUME 2, COMPLETE ONE will include the Essays in


this eBook PLUS SOME MORE! (for sale)

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PREFACE

Candidly, this is my second attempt to write this Preface. The first one I wrote, Pio
politely rejected telling me it was so intense on its confrontational stance against the
status quo. He suggested that I be more conciliatory and civil. So upon re-reading the
previous discarded Preface, I admit it was never really pala a Preface but a Prefight. A
Prefight against mediocrity, feudalism, and oligarchy in the Philippines written in my
most agitating way. I was writing an essay of my own pala, not a “Preface for Pio
Goco‟s great and nice eBook”. Funny.

Anyway, so this new Preface now is a rewrite and a re-thinking too.

And I believe Pio. I believe, because through my experience working with him,
whenever he will suggest on something to make it better, almost always it turns out to
be the best. Don‟t doubt me. Read his essays here, and you will understand not only
him but your own self too. I have a strong feeling, you readers have something in you
that you cannot seem to articulate. The best in you that you cannot seem to express.
The best within you and ourselves as persons, and as great and dignified Filipinos that
is very keen to express but cannot seem.

Well, read now Pio‟s essays and your best self can identify with his essays. It will be
your best and genuine self who is writing . . . through him, through this Pinoy
Renaissance Man called Mr. Emmanuel Pio Primicias-Goco. Vox Filipino, Vox Pio!

That is why I am compiling his essays posted on his Facebook for the past four years.
And turning them into series of eBooks, in sequential Volumes. This is Volume 1.

Oh well, his latest essay proving in eight-points that Duterte is not a Dictator is being
shared and shared and shared on Facebook, 25,000 plus times and growing as of my
last count today. This essay is included in this first Volume. That is why the main title of
this eBook is: UNDERSTANDING DUTERTE.

Another good reason to read and enjoy and be life-changed by Pio is that he has more
and many other interests in Life, aside from defending Duterte. And they are here too
described interestingly in essay forms and served to you by him in diversified yet
sumptuous ways! Pio Goco is no ideologue. He is not a partisan. He just eat ideas for
breakfast along with his Avocado-Experimentations, and of course he likes to party but
is never identified with any political party.

Enjoy reading, and be life-changed . . . to move this country forward!

Bennet De Leon Amoroso, July 28, 2018

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CONTENTS

COPYRIGHT 2
PREFACE by Bennet Amoroso 3
SECTION 1
UNDERSTANDING DUTERTE

Strong Leaders Of The World Rising. Duterte Is Worldclass! 8

Duterte Is Not A Dictator. Eight-Reasons Why 11


The Guerilla Politics of Duterte 16
Dissecting The Kissof Duterte 18
Digong‟s Politics of Principle 21
Duterte is Duterte, but Freedom is not Free 25
Hayaan Nating Magkwento si Tatay Digong 27
The Self-Righteous‟ Stupid Reactions to Duterte‟s “God is Stupid”! 29
With The Clueless Opposition, Duterte Must Be Rolling, Laughing! 36
But By The Way, Duterte Is Not My Idol 37

SECTION II
TAAL, BATANGAS. THE HERITAGE TOWN.
THE PILGRIMAGE TOWN FOR PATRIOTISM.

The Taaleno Filipino. A Profile in Parallel 41


Taal‟s Santa Lucia - The Heart and Wellspring of a Nation,
Pressed Down, Shaken Together, Running Over 45
Taal, An Epic Filipino Story 47
Conserving Our Heritage 49
Christmas Town in Taal 50
Taal, We Must Try . . . 52
The Pansipit River Runs Through It 56
Taal, The Filipino‟s Rome 65

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What Do We Make Of Basilica Taal And Taaleno‟s? 67
Taal, Tarlac, Tacloban: From Unprecedented Suffering to
Unprecedented Soul 69
The Best Is Yet To Come 73
Sigaw Nang Bayan, Happy 50th Anniversary Msgr. Madlangbayan! 76
The Land of Peklat 82

SECTION III
MILLENIALS. HEAR WHAT PIO TELLS YOU!

Advice For the Fragile Young , . . 87


This splendored Thing called Love . . . and Marriage too!
What‟s Love Got To Do With It? 89
Of Cell Phones and Partylines 95

SECTION IV
I AM A GOCO AND A PRIMICIAS TOO

This Box of High Honor 98


My Dad the SolGen 99
My Grandpa Sen. Cipriano Purugganan Primicias 100
Truth Hurts Then Heals 103
Passing The Torch 108
The HeartBreak And Redemption of Cipriano „Tito‟ Primicias Jr. 111

SECTION V
O COME ALL YE FAITHFUL SPIRITUS SANCTI

Blue Flame On! Sanctification . . . 117


God Is Not What You Imagine Him To Be 120
If God Walked The Earth, What Would He Look Like? 122

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The Joy of Knowing Mary 129
God Can See Us All 132

SECTION VI
PIO, THE SOCIOLOGIST, OBSERVES
Shopping for The Best Ideas in the World Wide Web 134
Rather Than One Lone-Ranger Hero, We Need Five Heroes! 136
Alice is in our Wonderland 138
We are like the multi-colored Rainbow. A Halo-Halo Culture too! 141
Babuyan Islands 142
Suffer The Indio to Come Unto Thee, For Theirs Is
The Kingdom of Heaven 149
Story Tellers, Come Forth! 159
The Vanishing of the Pinoy Man 164
We Are All Equal in Our Rights and Wrongs! 167
An Open Letter to Renaissance Man, Manny Pacman 169
A Parody of The Mad First Quarter Storm of 2015 172
Hail to the Malilibogs! 175
I Am A Radical For Democracy 176
Reflections on the Philippines‟ Over 6% Economic Growth 177
The Nature of the Glass 180
Jim Paredes & The Changing of the Vanguard 181
Of Funerals & Parties 183

SECTION VII
OUR FEDERAL PHILIPPINES
From Colonial Imperial … to Federal 188
Of Guerillas and Choleras 196
Versus Imperial Neo-Colonialism 198
Geo-Politics And The Cat of Deng Xiao Ping 202

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Fed Ex it? No Federalize It! 203
A Federalist Dynamic 205
Leaving A Presidential Legacy 206
A Federalist Solution to Muslim Mindanao . . . 207

SECTION VIII
FOOD, WHAT ELSE, BUT GOOD FOOD!
PioGoco is with Kalel Ervin Demetrio at Agimat Bar and Kitchen 210
Chef Robby Goco, My Brother 212
Farewell Anthony Bourdain 213
Cyma and Manang 214
The Wonders of Noma Cuisine 215
For The Love of Esau's Lugaw 217
For The Love of Balut & An Exegesis on Western Society 218

NOTES FROM EDUKADIOT, coming eBooks (by Bennet & Dexter Amoroso) 221

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SECTION 1
UNDERSTANDING DUTERTE

Strong Leaders Of The World Rising. Duterte Is Worldclass!

By Pio Goco at the Goco Ancestral House, Taal (July 13, 2018)

Democracy is the rule of by and for the people. It's not perfect but it's the best
form of government that advances and protects the rights and interests of all men and
women. It didn't use to be that way. Prior to Democracy, it was the rule of 'Monarchs
for Life' but a monarch tends to be abusive specially when absolute power corrupts
them and power tends to always corrupt a person. When monarchial corruption
happens, there goes the entire neighborhood for life and human regression happens.
Hence the absolute power of Monarchs was tempered aka the 'Separation of Powers'
Principle in a Democracy to counter the tendencies of inherent human weakness and
frailties.

Regardless of the fact that separation of powers happens or not, a political era
is judged by its acts or non acts. A King has all the power to move the Chains. If that
King is benevolent and advances the cause of its subjects to give them a better life,
that King is judged by history to be a good one. Their era is called a Renaissance or
Golden era for their monarch's reign and advancement of their culture. In a
participative Democracy, the King becomes President or Prime Minister. The subjects
becomes citizens. The democratic leaders engages the citizen via their vote, their
consent and their engagement in the democratic process but the goals are the same. It
is to bring the nation and its citizens to a better place than when they started.

Today Democracy is the established template of governance. But Kingdoms still


exist. North Korea is a Kingdom. A Dictator acts like a King. The Vatican is a Kingdom.
The Pope acts like a King as well. Japan used to have an Emperor God. The
Japanese people and their Military bowed to him and the Kamikaze pilots died for him.

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But now the Japanese Emperor has been brought down to Earth. Same with the
Queen of England. They still have title but their powers have been clipped. They are
fortunate to still exist unlike in France or Russia where they were executed. To those
Monarchs that still exist and have full powers, these are the vestiges of feudal times.
And in our case for as much as we are a Democracy, there is the Catholic Church. And
they take orders from another Master and it's not our democratically elected one. But
that's another story.

Democracies have for the most part advanced the cause of mankind. The most
significant accomplishment is perhaps the enshrinement of the Human Rights
Mandate. All Democracies if they are noble advances the cause of the rights of their
citizens namely life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness, civil rights, freedom from poverty
aka minimum basic needs et al. When a democracy advances the cause of their
citizens and provides dignity to people in just ways, that Democracy works. Their
quality of life is raised up. Responsible Liberty is practiced.

But it's not always automatic. The pursuits of Democratic principles can be
subverted in liue of special interests. Just causes and freedom from want may not be
pursued. The wheels of progress move too slow. Instead of taking the country forward,
human development is delayed or denied. Principled Ideologues who all have just
causes may adopt inflexible or uncompromising positions which in turn creates
gridlock. Democratic governance then proves ineffective and frustration and loss of
patience of the electorate grows. The people's priority agenda is sidelined. Political
Power becomes an end in itself. The voters then look for leaders or other solutions to
break that logjam or gridlock to remind our political representatives that they are not in
power to Lord it up or to argue endlessly and accomplish nothing. They are there to
advance the people's interest period. If they don't then the people rage against the
system. They protest in many ways. One of it is via exercising their right to suffrage.
Enter the Strongmen.

Strongmen are not necessarily Dictatorial. But they come from time to time to
check and balance ineffective Democracies to remind them of their true purpose.
However the range of Strongmen, they tend to come on strong and impatient. They

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tend to plow people under. They offend decent liberal sensibilities. They tend to use
their powers and political will to end endless arguments. They can be hostile and
abrupt. Since all sides of the aisle cannot get along and the people's business is not
done or little business is done because leadership is lazy and indolent or corrupt,
corrective measures happen. The Strongman is kinda like the Traffic aide cum referee
which steps in to untangle a bad traffic situation. No one is giving way so he blows his
whistle and finds a coercive solution to move them along again. You have seen it time
and again. It is no surprise why people follow that change agent or solutions provider.

Strongmen prescriptions are not necessarily palatable but that is by design


because he is supposed to be an object lesson to Democracy loving advocates. If you
don't find common cause to your arguments and give way to each other, the Ghoul
shows up. It is the people's last resort to fix the gridlock. The ghoul's primary interest is
pragmatic. Solve problems. Move the chains. It need not be pretty. Just get it done.
And freedom loving Democracy advocates are surprised why good decent intelligent
people accept the ghoul leading them. It is not because they have lost faith in
Democracy but because at that point in our walk thru history, it was absolutely
necessary. The ghoul is a very risky bet but at that time, there were just no options left.
Human nature tends to mess things up despite our best intentions hence these strong
medicine solutions..

Enter DU30 and Trump. Have we the people gone mad to support such
atrocious characters? Actually their ascension to power makes a lot of sense. And
perhaps DU30 is Robin to Trump's Batman. They are both similar. Trump rises to
break the decades of ideological polarization, endless arguments and gridlock between
the GOP and the Dems who over time no longer get along in moderation. DU30 the
same to address gross inequalities, entrenched special interests in feudal dynamics,
corruption, injustice or slow justice and obvious flaws in our system. Both of them are
Iconoclasts. They smash our idolatrous images of nonsense, shake the tree and
system and scare the BeJesus out of us to remind us what democratic Politics and
Politicians are for. It is not to overrule, offset and zero sum each other. It is not to
pursue personal agendas and interests. It is to reason together, appeal to the better
angels of our nature, get things done and move the agenda of the people. It is their job

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to serve the people. Consider and always be mindful of 'We the People'. Your power
comes from us. TAKE OUR COUNTRY FORWARD!

It is not so much about ideology but about finding 'common ground' in the midst
of ideological differences. And once they have done their work and the political culture
makes the necessary adjustments, the ghouls fade away again.. Strongmen are
sometimes called Dictators or Populist Assholes. Ultimately, they are a warning sign to
all so called decent reasonable and sensible Democracy loving men and women. If
you still don't listen, repent and reform despite their existence and still insist on your
ways that cause gridlock, then 'Kamay na Bakal' is next.. Their rise can be a prelude to
judgement. We are back to the rule of Dictator-Kings because you simply cannot or will
not correct yourself. I pray that in our case, we come to our senses and that doesn't
happen. If it does, we all lose.

Duterte Is Not A Dictator. Eight-Reasons Why


(as of July 28, 2018 almost 25,000 shares on Facebook …
and growing)

By Pio Goco at the Goco Ancestral House, Taal (July 2018)

Of all the misnomers about DU30, one of the most absurd is he is a Dictator. Let me
refute this idea point by point.

1. DU30 is a Federalist.

A federalist at heart is a person who is determined to break up imperial


executive power and give it to the regions. He is allocating executive responsibility to
the regions by giving them the power to chart regional economic policy while retaining
some executive powers to the Feds like foreign policy and federal peace and order. A
Dictator wants all powers to himself like an imperial black hole. Whereas a Federalist

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empowers the regions to govern themselves but he simply cannot be both. It's a
contradiction of terms to be Dictator and Federalist. Frankly it was more dictatorial
before DU30 was President. Why do you think there were so many balimbings? He is
reforming and decentralizing the power dynamics so we can be more effective
representatives of the regions regardless of party affilliations. That is 'inclusion' in
action. No region is left behind or out like before.

2. DU30 knows his executive power has limits.

DU30 does not speak in public like the Pope or a Dictator speaks in public. His
words are not 'Ex Cathedra' policy like what Ex Sol Gen Hilbay insinuates. His words
can influence policy and lead the agenda but ultimately that influence is reflected only
via signed law endorsed by the joint assent of Congress and via EO. When he talks
mostly in public, it's his opinion unless that opinion is pursued and legislated by
Congress. He understands the co-equal, separation of powers principle in Democratic
governance. Now what about the ouster of CJ Sereno? That was the Supreme Court
en banc interpreting the Constitution and deciding her ouster not DU30. The deciding
vote was SC Assoc Justice Jardeleza who was appointed by the prior administration.
Upon appeal, he reaffirmed his vote.

3. DU30 has not shut down the voices of his political opponents, the free press, multi
media and social media networks.

Some may say well what about Senator DeLima? The Senator is in jail not
because of her opposition to Du30 but because of unbailable drug proliferation
charges. In the meantime, the entire opposition machinery is still working overtime to
'disrupt' his agenda and that includes VP Robredo, SenTrillanes, Cong. Lagman and
Alejano, The Left, JomaSison, select leaders of the Catholic Church et al. The free
press is still free to print and publish any story they deem fit as public interest and yes
even libel and slant the President's words and at times create scandal. Rappler is still
in the punditry business and the CHR is funded and has not been shut down. All social

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media platforms like Twitter, FaceBook, Instagram continue to operate without any
restrictions, regulation or censorship.

4. DU30 is not Pikon.

Last June 12 when he was in Kawit, Cavite, he was ambushed by noisy


protesters prior to his speech. And what did he say when they were slamming him? He
said the Filipino Citizen has every right to free speech. It is guaranteed by the
Constitution. He then waits for them to finish and if they have to be dispersed, exercise
'Maximum Tolerance'. This has also happened time and again with the 'Libingan ng
Bayani' Protests and Mocha's tiff with Kris A among others. But going back to those
Kawit protesters raining insults on Du30, if that happened during the time of Dictator
Macoy, those audacious protesters would be rounded up and most likely end up dead.
5. DU30 has not shut down Congress or the Supreme Court.

As a co-equal branch of government, he respects the joint sessions of Congress in


their power to make laws. He does not favor only his party. He just recently signed the
Mental Health Law whose bill was led by SenRissaHontiveros. So good law regardless
of political affiliations is good law and he signs it. He has even appointed known
opposition moderates into his Cabinet like Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra and
Spokesperson Harry Roque. Even his new PNP Chief Albayalde came from the ranks
and was appointed based on merit. Furthermore, DU30 delegates his power and trusts
his cabinet and lets them do their jobs. He does not grab credit but they are
accountable. And if he finds compelling fault, they are fired. The SC continues to be
independent despite insinuations that it isn't. It is not a rubber stamp since DU30 court
appointees are merely a minority there.

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6. DU30 enforces the law in the books.

In a Democracy, you are not free to do anything you please. That is the law of a
savage and we are not savages but civilized educated people. There are laws that
maintain peace and order. And the enforcement of the anti drug proliferation law is a
mandate of his government, the basis of which was not even made law in his time. It
became a National security issue in GMA's time. He understood that the drug trade
must not propagate because it imperils the citizens. So he empowers the PNP to go
after abusers, pushers and repeat offenders to enforce the law. And perhaps certain
PNP officers don't follow proper protocols of arrest or respects due process. And so he
arrests the corrupt PNP violators, enforces discipline or fires them. But we cannot just
let drug lords be because the system isn't perfect. But once an arrest is made they are
booked and bail is set. If the suspect fights back and endangers the life of a PNP
officer, then they can protect themselves and put down the suspect permanently if
necessary. In any Democracy the proper application and enforcement of justice is
always necessary for our safety and security and yet we are not a police state. The US
and Europe does likewise. Even the Superfriends do it.

7. Du30's past as Mayor of Davao.

There are other obvious reasons why Du30 is not a Dictator and will never be
one. In Davao as Mayor, he also had Councilors he had to work with. He did all his
work as Mayor thru a Sanggunian. That's a democratically elected body right there. He
has been a democratically elected official most of his life and succeeded in that
environment. He has never lost a fairly contested election. He has faith in democratic
processes. Why would he change his spots now that he is much older and pushing
retirement? He can't. He won't. He still has to go back to Davao when he is done. He
still has a legacy to uphold.

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8. Checks and Balances.

Other than the person of Du30, the one that stands out is the COA that audits
government expenses and the Ombudsman that functions as Internal Affairs. No
Dictator will submit to those control powers but they function in this government. They
have authorization to audit him and later on, the Ombudsman can go after him if he did
wrong. His SALN is updated yearly. There is also the continued existence of the co-
equal branches of power to check him.

Lastly, we all know DU30 rambles in his speeches. Don't call it speeches. They
are lectures. At times they are sermons. He is sometimes too harsh with his insults. He
can drone on and on. I occasionally wince at his extemporaneous temperamental
methods. But that is his straight from the heart style of communicating to his audience
and emphasizing his points. As a democratically elected President, he is entitled to his
style of exercising his power. Apparently it's effective. The poll numbers show it. He
won because of his sincerity and candor. Maybe we should depart from our rigid
interpretation of how that power is exercised. Maybe there is a teachable moment
here. Something never seen before. Puwede pala yang style ni DU30. It's not pretty
but he does get things done. He comes off as not imperial at all. He is a 'Ganito Yan'
story teller.

And if this democracy be affirmed, it is because we can accommodate diverse


styles to go with our halohalo regional diversity. In a Democracy, we always have
choices and in DU30, we always have a choice to listen to him, to understand him or
not. We can turn off the TV set or keep it turned on. His style is most peculiar. He is a
unique phenomenon. A one of a kind sonafabitch cum patriot. So enjoy him while he is
around moving mountains. Relish his moves as he afflicts the comforted and comforts
the afflicted. Watch him as he curiously takes our country forward. You may never see
anything like him again. He is an enlightened Kanto boy but Dictator? Yeah yeah.. He
may have said so before to make you stay on your toes but perish the thought. He just
ain't it.

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The Guerilla Politics of Duterte

By PioGoco in Pasig City (May 25, 2018)

Du30 practices what you might call 'Guerrilla Politics.' It is characterized by


psychological warfare in political discourse..Basically you discombubulate the
reactionary opposition by confusing them via smoke and mirrors statements. It seems
incoherent in its sound bites but it is deliberate.. There is a overall strategy to keep
them off balance. This was practiced by Ho Chi Minh in his battles against the
Americans in the Vietnam war. Outwit, out position, outplay. This is not the same as
conventional warfare as was practiced by Heneral Luna's Revolutionary Army early on
against the American occupation. When Luna faced the Americans head on, the
American Generals saw them coming from a mile away. Luna's army was then
slaughtered wholesale and decimated.

This new classic strategy based on the principles of the 'Art of War' is the most
effective way to level the playing field against very powerful forces lined up against us.
Precedent history tells us that it has been proven effective against forces that have
massive material resources to wage conventional warfare. In other words.. Don't think
Du30 is a dufus idiot provincial bumpkin. He knows what he is doing. He is the
personification of Ho Chi Minh. The goal is to win and win big for the dehado Filipino
people.

Du30 is a deep thinker and a wily strategist. He has his opponents profiled and
pegged. He outwitted and outplayed his opponents in the prior elections by the
excellent execution of his guerrilla strategy. He did the same thing in triangulating the
Moros and NPA's in Davao to carve out a peaceful and prosperous Davao now. Same
now with his foreign counterparts China, the US, Russia, ASEAN et al. He is doing the
same strategy in our current political discourse so he can execute much needed
reforms for the Filipinos. This is not the conventional way we are used to seeing in

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typical warfare scenarios. That's why the opposition is confused. They have never
seen a political animal like this in the modern era.. It requires thinking, pondering and
studying so you can see his moves... The reactionaries are not familiar with this game.
He is executing his own psycho babble version of the 'Tet Offensive'. And if you study
and understand it, you will then see how it all makes sense.. Another way of looking at
this is how the players in the TV show 'Survivor' maneuver, outwit, outplay and outlast
their opponents to win. It is not always the clear favorite that turns out as the last
person standing rather the ultimate survivor is the one who plays the game best.

Du30 is a student of Philippine history... And he knows his history til way back to
the time of the Datus. He sees why we repeatedly failed against our colonizers in
political and conventional warfare. He wants to avoid the same mistakes. And hence
the strategy he has adopted is to him the best possible way to succeed. He is not
doing this for his self aggrandizement. He is a Patriot. He loves his country and wants
it to be in a better place. He is not a Marcos nor is he part of the ruling elite class. But
his public words are a ruse all cleverly designed to keep his adversaries off balanced
and frustrated while getting maximum benefits for the people via legislated reforms.
This is historic times for us. As groundbreaking as when we invented 'People power' in
1986. When all is said and done and 'Operation Shock and Awe' is finished, it will be
the dawn of the proud strategic thinking class of Pinoys. His political template will be
studied by Filipino political scientists for ages.. It is how a little provincial bumpkin
David arrayed against massive forces overcame the Goliaths and changed the course
of Philippine history for the better.

Below, one can see the meltdown frustration of the yellow opposition in this
article. When reading it, there are only two views left in their reflection. Either Du30
really is a bumbling idiot which they claim or he is an excellent strategist by succeeding
in traumatizing the reactionaries and blaming the 16M for electing Du30. I happen to
believe the latter because the reasonable moderate braintrust in his administration the
likes of Berna Romulo Puyat, Ben Diokno, Martin Andanar, Mark Villar, Bebot Bello,
Central Bank Gov. Espenilla, Finance Sec. Dominguez, Manny Pinol, Justice Sec.

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Guevara, DFA Sec Alan Cayetano et al have not defected en masse. These people I
mentioned above are professional barometers and people of integrity. They will simply
resign if they see they represent a sinister scam artist and ampaw village idiot in Du30.
And since they are sticking around and Du30 has their confidence, they see the broad
strategy and understand his style completely.

This article below then shows the soft underbelly of the opposition by their
blame throwing grievances and their total incapacity to understand the game that's
being played now. It is beyond them. It also exposes to all their entitlement hubris.. To
political scientists, military strategists, and philosopher-historian-sociologists who know
the context and narrative of our entire Philippine history as it played out, it is clear to
see that Du30 has outplayed and outpositioned them completely hence their absurd
and wild reaction in blaming the 16M. He has pulled the rug from under them. They are
now forced to up their game. Now watch how DU30 clears the deck and pushes
through the ambitious reforms agenda which he promised when he ran for President.
Ang Mabuhay ngDahilsa Iyo!

Dissecting The Kiss of Duterte

By PioGoco, just somewhere (June 4 2018)

This is so amusing if it weren't so tragic.. Let me share a recollection... I was


once in a birthday party for a prominent former gov't official. The mood was celebratory
and there was singing and clapping. Then the gov't official went up the stage to say
thanks for such a wonderful evening. There were group hugs and kisses a plenty.
Then a pretty lady also went up the stage to hug the official. Then everyone went....
Kiss! It was all in jest and good fun.. And of course there was a kiss. And everyone just
laughed and clapped after. There was never any malice imputed with the kiss nor was
it even inferred. And everyone moved on and sang songs after.

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Then this event happens in SK. It's very similar. And all of a sudden everyone
here is imputing malice, abuse, sexual harassment and power tripping misogyny?
Cmon.. This is making a mountain out of an airhill. Even the lady who was kissed said
there was nothing to it. There was no malice at all. It was all in good fun.. It's just an
act much like when the President sings 'Ikaw'. That hotel was packed with OFW's.
They came on their own volition. They chanted and shouted 'DuterteDuterte!!' as he
walked in. Du30 even bowed 4 times to acknowledge their robust cheers. That brief
kiss with a warm hug thereafter was a 'kilig moment'. It connected the President to his
audience.

You must understand... Our OFW's are our nations heroes. Without their
remittances we are dependent on the 40 oligarchial families and the BPO sector for
jobs. Our poverty rate would be pushing 70%. Instead of straining a gnat to
accommodate your view that an abuse has been made when there wasn't, maybe you
should ask why Du30 had such a loud and boisterous welcome from the OFW's from
SKorea. Hakotbayan?Actually no. It was a show of genuine expression and passionate
support for their President. And why are they so ecstatic to see him? Perhaps u might
have read that in Kuwait, OFWs now have 'Employee Rights' because Du30 and the
DFA played hardball in their behalf to get it. It was a landmark moment. For the first
time, they feel hope for themselves and their homeland because there is a President
who genuinely cares for the OFWs. Du30 fights for the dignity of our over 10M OFW
Filipinos who want nothing more than to have a decent job here in their homeland.
Unfortunately there aren't many. Now why is that? Hindi basilaimportante?Kasibamga
hoi polloi masalangbasila?

So imagine pissing off our OFW heroes just because of a kiss when there are
larger more important issues regarding their well being and future. I saw the clip. I saw
the context, the banter and the brief peck of a kiss. I saw the reply of the lady after. It
was all cool and benign from both sides. It was all for show for the audience. Du30 got
$5B from SK to bring home as baon to create new jobs for the people but the hell with
that! It's all about that stupid kiss.

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And so I say.. This critical voice can only come from overreacting, overzealous, self
righteous babbler rabblers who impute hifalutin malicious meaning when there is none.
It is all inferred in your head! You see what you want to see so you can crab down this
President! And furthermore, in an effort to sound like they commiserate and
sympathize with a supposed lady victim, they drone on and on in so called
sophisticated indignation when there was none of that. 'Ah basta..victim siya!
Pinagsamantalahan siya! Kahit anong sabihing depensa netong Bea Kim naito, wala
siyang alam kasi apar siya sa power play and victim narrative.' What nonsense!

Now let's knock some sense into your aloof heads.. Mark my words... How you
loudmouth Hilbay Hillbilly's framed what happened with the Kiss.. The OFW's will
remember your insults and comments. The next election in 2019, please make it a
referendum of your anger for this President. Shout your asar from the rooftops! Go get
the choir and your echo chamber! Cuz rest assured, the 10M strong OFW's and their
families will also come out in massive numbers and will let their voices be heard. Then
you will understand how out of touch you are and haven't changed a bit.

PS: The shared interests of 10M OFW's cannot be supplanted by an awkward


kiss. May it never be because the lives, welfare and the future of our OFW heroes are
way more important than this kissy kiss kisspolitics. Let's refocus and talk about the
$5B largesse DU30 got back from SKorea. If he were at thief, that would have been a
legendary heist! But sadly who really cares about that. The kiss with no malice is more
important.

20
Digong‟s Politics of Principle

By Pio Goco, just somewhere (February 26, 2016)

One of the more refreshing things that came out of my meeting with Rody
Duterte was his ability to define himself from the get go with regards to his Political
Philosophy. Philosophy is such a high and mighty word because it requires us to think.
It requires us to get to know our candidates and what they really believe in. Philosophy
is the basis of principle because in that philosophy we can understand the person‟s
motivation why they wish to run for President.

In the American Tradition where we base our type of Government, there is the
left which is widely understood as Pro Socialism and there is the right which is Pro
Capitalism. Pure Capitalism is the pursuit of profit without regards to Labor. Pure
Socialism is the opposite. That the rights of Laborers come first before Profit. And then
of course there is the center. The center represents the interests of both which
balances the desire for profit with labor included. In a perfect world, both are
represented equally. It‟s a win win. The Capitalist by investing their assets and
resources get to make a profit. The Laborer by investing their human capital and labor
lift up their condition and have a quality of life that provides them a measure of dignity,
a hope and a future.

When you hear terms like Compassionate Conservatism, Perestroika, Daang


Matuwid, Ang Bagong Lipunan, those are definitions that give us an idea of the
candidates politics of principle which show their philosophy of life. Philosophy is rooted
in truth. There is the Christian truth. There is the Maoist truth. Marxist-Leninist,
Existential, Sun Tzu, etc etc and then there is the politics of Personality which really is
nothing more than being dazzled by the celebrity of a candidate without regard to their
truth. That is what we have here.

21
Going back to Duterte, I am so happy that when he went to the stage, he
defined himself from the get go without even people asking. He claims he is a „Left of
Center‟ Candidate. I see him to mean that he is leaning more Socialist but also
understanding that the interests of the Capitalists are important to him. And that is
refreshing because who has really defined themselves this way? We always hear the
Daang Matuwid ideology. What exactly does it mean? What is the underlying
philosophy of this movement? Yes I understand it is against corruption in government
but when nearly the entire system is corrupt as defined by our current Ombudsman,
how does that exactly work in practice?

We hear the term, „ituloy ang daang matuwid‟. I would love to consider that idea
but the proof of the pudding is in the eating. Where has this philosophy brought a
greater number of us? 6 years later after Daang Matuwid, are a good majority of us
better off than they were before? Is it based on a philosophical principle or is it just a
tag line, a marketing term which really has no basis in practice. I would like to believe
in our leaders. I would like to think they know what they are doing. After all, they do
have a basis for living. Freedom and Democracy has a philosophical basis. It is in
equality and egality that it has its meaning. Democracy is all about inclusion because
people exercise their right to suffrage and vote in. The equality is not forced down.
Equality is inherent in every man and woman made in the image of God. And since
they all have God in them, they must be valued and provided universal human rights.
These rights as we understand them are the rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of
happiness.. There are also the rights to citizenship, education, right to address
grievances/justice, right to fair taxation, etc etc.. As we follow the laws, we are free
because in these laws incorporate our rights as citizens.

But there are dangers here. Dictators take away rights and they co-opt these
rights for themselves. The reasons being is that the rights of people must be taken to
supposedly preserve national security, external threats and the fundamental interests
of the preservation of the Republic over the individual. Dictators can be far left or right
of center. On the one extreme is the Maoist or Leninist Communist side whereby they

22
take out the power centers of the Monarchs, Big Business and Elites and force equality
with the peasants and laborers of the land. It is a one party system.. The other end is
the age of the Robber Barons where the interests of Capitalists were predominant over
Labor which gave rise to injustices. Horrifically, the Hitlerian ideal of the Aryan Nation
which represents the right wing is closer to Capitalism than it is to Socialism but there
is an added aspect of Hate and Discrimination. And when Hate is inflected into the
politics of man, wholesale murder is not far behind.

But let me keep this simple. Our politics in this country is a Politics of Personality. I
hardly hear any definitions of Philosophy. I hardly hear anything about what they
believe in. As I read most solutions, it seems to be Reactionary more than anything.
Reactionary basically means that they only move when they see a problem and since
they don‟t have a Philosophy, they cannot possibly foresee what is going to happen
because they are not well tuned with human nature, history, precedent and principles
of government.

In fact in our country, it is the politics of expediency. Once used up, go to the
next power center.. Before, a candidate got its identification from its National Party
because the party defined the philosophical basis of why they are running. Now guest
candidates are rampant because it‟s all about identification to power. There is no such
thing as loyalty to a party principle or philosophy. Its loyalty to a celebrity, to a
personality and all that person represents and that is very dangerous because it is one
step to Dictatorship because it assumes we give power to that person who is basically
as flawed as we are but more popular. It is no different than electing a King. They
know better. And so we give them our power to „RULE‟ over us instead of represent
our interests.

Which brings me to these 5 candidates for President. We need to ask them


questions about their political philosophy. Who do they espouse as their mentors on
the philosophical level? What is their principle of Government? These are very
important questions because it will identify to us who they follow and what their likely

23
rule is. These ideas cannot be nebulous because there is an underlying motivation as
to why they wish to take power to begin with. Duterte has defined himself as Center-
Left. What about Binay, Poe, Miriam? Roxas said ituloy ang Daang Matuwid.. Well we
already know where that led us. Daang Matuwid nga sa butas nang karayom kasi sila
sila lang. They are awash in wealth and all its entitlements while the greater majority
eat peanuts. Is it any wonder that Binay says kami naman? Is it any wonder that Binay
remains viable, even topping the polls at times even if the man was subjected to the
most vicious hate propaganda in this political season? The man was Macario
Sakay‟ed, massacred by the elite media but there he still is.. And whereof we speak of
Mar Roxas? He will probably have to cheat massively to win because whatever he
does, he just can‟t gain traction because he represents all that is elitist and
incompetent in this administration and that is such heavy baggage not to mention his
own foot in mouth disease.

And in the midst of all of this, I am watching this phenomenon of guest


candidates with aversion. This basically means that all principle is out the window. It is
the politics of perceived celebrity and personality. It is the politics of connections
without context. Alliances are made on the fly and it‟s about getting votes no matter
what. Use me and I will use you. The philosophy of why we do things is.. there is
none.. Gamitan. Take my pic and post it and leverage the pic to maximum benefit.
Take power at any way possible.. So the left is with the right. The orange is with the
red white and blue.. And in the end, its all mud.. Binababoy ang bayan. And that sets a
very dangerous precedent because in the absence of intellectual heft and
philosophical basis of why we do things because a vast majority are poor and cannot
comprehend these matters, it can only lead to loss of freedom. It can only lead to
drastic change and control because we have not been able to educate the people to
think and judge wisely what is best for them. In fact the end result of this is people
desire control because they wish to make sense of their surroundings and since many
people are poor and suffering as a result of dysfunction, exploitation, separation and
elitism, they want to stop the chaos and they hardline to do it.

24
Poverty pandering is the worst form of politics because its about exploitation of
their needs.. They cannot possibly think straight when they are hungry. To them, its
simple. Paano ako makaraos sa sitwasyong ito. And when they see their elites using
them to elicit sympathy but counter with no progress and worse living it up too much
they begin to grumble loudly and before long, they will think their elites are at fault for
their suffering and there goes the neighborhood.. For sure, they aren‟t listening to this
current administration because it has been proven that Daang Matuwid is all about
„them‟ and not „us‟. It‟s win-lose and the people are tired and angry of losing.

And so define your terms from the get go. Who are you? More important than
what is your plan, what is your political philosophy? What do you foresee? We need to
bring our political exercise back to the politics of principle. Our intellectuals need to
trumpet these views and bring us back to reason and free exchange of ideas and
ideology, to the identification of values because for us to continue to be free in this
archipelago, we will need leaders that lead us, not rule over us and that takes logic and
intellect more than emotion and reaction.

Duterte is Duterte, but Freedom is not Free

By PioGoco, somewhere (June 30, no year)

And if the restoration of sanity and justice was the effect of the Human Rights
Mandate in the Philippines, I am so all for it. I mean...who isn't for human rights? But if
the Human Rights Mandate means license by the criminal individual to abuse our
established laws, then a correction on its interpretation is needed. Human Freedom
with Responsibility is the key Principle. And if one doesn't carry one's burdens and be
responsible, tanggal ang freedom mo. Baka pati ang buhay mo.

25
DU30 gets justice, law enforcement and a healthy fear of the law. We all need
to follow the law in good faith to go forward. You also don't convert Bilibid 'Correctional'
facility into a vacation resort for outlaws who can then make music videos, hire call
girls and sell contrabands. What's the purpose of law when it's merely optional to
follow? There is no teeth to the rules. It's every man for himself. Those things matter so
there is peace and order. And when there is peace and order, there is a safe and
secure environment to build something constructive. That's why he continues to be
popular. It's that simple.

Ye have been set free in a democracy, so be free indeed. But freedom is not free. It is
paid for from time to time by the blood of freedom loving patriots and citizens. So in a
Democracy, know what freedom actually means. It does not mean freedom to do
anything you want. That is 'Savage' freedom. Yeah you are free to do anything except
infringe on other people's rights and freedoms. Ikanga... Your freedom ends where my
nose begins. Freedom in a civilized society is the freedom to follow the laws for the
laws make you a free person. Once you violate em like Savages do, you are no longer
free.

One is not free to sell or push drugs. It renders people addicted, inutile and
stupid. It makes them disabled and not productive. The state has every right to protect
the citizens from illegal drug pushers. It is right for the police to enforce the law in the
books restricting or regulating the selling of dangerous drugs. One does not have a
human right to sell it. And if you do sell it, you are a deviant savage and need
'correction'. It's not cool to be a savage in a civilized society. Once you are caught, you
have a right to due process to determine your innocence or guilt. But in the process of
arrest, if you fight law enforcement you run the risk of being shot and killed. And if one
is killed because one resisted arrest, then justice has been served.

In a civilized society, you are free within the bounds of the law. Law bring peace
and order. Anybody that say otherwise is also a Savage. The most obvious kind of
Savage is the one nawalangpinag-aralandahilsakahirapan. The less obvious is the one

26
who is educated but due to corruption forgets all that they learned in Kindergarten. So
anybody who believes they have the freedom to do anything within a civilized society is
a Caveman Savage.. But a considerate person who exercises responsible freedom
within a civilized society is a free civilized person indeed. That is the essence of
Liberalism. And that is a good thing. It restores faith in our institutions. Then educate
educate educate so the savages learn restraint. It is of utmost national interest to wean
our people from poverty. For the slavery of poverty breeds savagery. Rebuke this vow
of poverty.. Then more enlightenment and affirmation of a free democracy is more
likely.

Hayaan Nating Magkwento si Tatay Digong

By Pio Goco, somewhere (June 29, no year)

Du30's speeches occassionally depart from the traditional formal speeches we


are used to. They are not speeches more so than lectures.. He uses the pulpit for
anecdotes, reflections, concerns and ideas with teachable moments. It comes off as
sincere and candid because it‟s done extemporaneously with no pretense. This style in
itself is unusual and unprecedented because it‟s folksy and warm. Perhaps the closest
it has to a prior leader would be Ramon Magsaysay or FDR's fireside chats. But it‟s
effective because within that flow, you can see the heart and sincerity of a leader to
communicate with those he serves. Yes he is prone to saying obtuse things but within
a larger context, that‟s all in the realm of just saying it as it is. This has always been his
style which has endeared him to the masses. He is a storyteller.. When he says Alam
mo..Gusto niya magkwento. And then in between his kwento, his policies are stated
within the flow of the topic.

27
The problem is the propaganda press would rather pick parts of the kwento they
like that pertain to their bias that sell newspapers than put that kwento in context. And
then via slanted propaganda, clip the Du30 statement out of context to reflect an
entirely different message.. But the people do know better. Why? The people's support
remains solid. They see the proof of the pudding.. They see a man who is serious
about reforms notwithstanding the widespread corruption around him. So re-interpret
Du30 and twist his narrative at your own risk.. He still comes out strong. And the more
the propaganda press keeps stealing his narrative to show a different slant, the more
dug in the majority is. So what is to be done? Report him in the totality of his message.
Take away your elite biases. Listen to his acts. The people want fair and balanced
reporting. And if you do it, your readers will respond and affirm your narrative because
they also want to see their country lifted up.

A lot of people are confused with what DU30 says in public. They say when he
speaks, it is in fact a policy statement. I would agree with you there if DU30 were Kim
Jung Un. Anything that comes out of the mouth of the Dictator of North Korea when he
speaks publicly is in fact policy. But we are a Democracy. What DU30 says can be
policy but then again, it need not be. He is not the Pope speaking 'Ex Cathedra' unless
you see DU30 as a Pope or a King.. But he is neither. He is President. So when is it
policy? When it's signed into law or by EO. Otherwise, it's an opinion.

In a free country with a functioning democracy, DU30 also has a right to his
wrong or right opinion. And if you don't like his opinion or would like to strongly advise
him to keep his opinions to himself, then come 2019, please make the mid term
elections a referendum of your point in the matter.

28
The Self-Righteous‟ Stupid Reactions to
Duterte‟s “God is Stupid”!

By PioGoco at Goco Ancestral House, Taal (June 26, 2018)

Here we go again. Apparently our dear El wacko Presidente Du30 is saying


some shit about our God being stupid or the Catholic God being stupid. And now this
debate has escalated to a rumble where nearly everyone is now taking sides and
screaming bloody murder. What I can say is please settle down naman! No one in the
world cares about our internecine rivalries in these chaotic, incoherent and noisy
islands. If anything, the world sees us as we see ourselves.. We are the noise of puny
overly dramatic busy bodies. We just can't change our spots. We are still pawns to a
larger game of chess and we simply can't help ourselves.

Let's go back to history and the 'Treaty of Tordesillas'. Let's view how Western
Civilization sees us. During this time, the East and West was divided between the
Spanish and Portuguese. Portugal takes everything East of the Azores Isles and Spain
takes everything West. Then they go off into their Galleon ships and whatever they
see, it was theirs. The Portuguese claim most of East Asia and technically the
Philippines is within their Eastern domain. Meanwhile the Spanish go another route
and instead of going east, they go west across the Atlantic, into South America which
they claim for Spain and across the Pacific and serendipitously land in the Philippines.
During this time, the Philippines was like Alaska. It's the armpit hicksville outpost on
the far edge of the flat earth. It is so far east from civilization, only the crazy and daring
would go there. And so that's exactly what happened. It was fair territory for every
looney tribal misfit who had anything to escape from. Pirates of the Caribbean had
nothing on Pirates of the Philippine Islands. It is a place to lose yourself in wanton
debauchery because that is the life of a bahalana savage in these bahalana islands.
No rules.. Anything goes.

29
It was a violent place where storms always pass. Almost unforgiving and
uninhabitable, living there is like living in a paradise of punishment. And why are you
there? Cuz you deserve it.. It was not a place for coveted spices like the Moluccas. As
a matter of fact, all that was there in the land was talahib brush and deep mosquito
infested jungles. They all mostly fished and the natives were as simple as a walking
brick. Worthless.

The islands was so savage worthless that the Portuguese readily conceded it to
Spain like it was a boxing day sale after Christmas. That trade off with Brazil which
became Portuguese territory made it worse. Spain got the short end of the stick. And
from then on, Spain saw that the islands remain a remote hicksville place not even
deserving of direct rule. So subdue, control and exploit it. But it's so far..... Whatever...

And perhaps they tried... They brought Religion to the islands. They tried to Catholicize
the savage natives. But I guess they were just way too animistic and superstitious. The
Spanish then began to adapt to the locals. They replaced idols of the land with idols of
Saints and made them look noble. We became children of a lesser God. For a time it
worked, but this country has a way of blowing away every good faith intention. You just
can't build anything for too long. It's like building sand castles. No matter how
imposing, it's doomed to fail. The big waves, bad earthquakes and howling winds will
come. It's forbidden heartbreaking territory. You start over again and again. So just
don't do anything. Stupid is as stupid does. Just go fish and fuck... It‟s too hot and
humid to do anything anyways. I mean... Look at the indolent locals. And so they did
pretty much sigesigenalang, do tepid business and on occasion fight the Moro and
Chinese pirates.

Eventually Spain caves in to the culture of basic instinct. And they then begin
sending their criminals out here. Let them be exiled in this violent paradise and never
come back. Bring out your corrupt officials, lewd priests and dregs of Spanish culture
and bring them here! Go forth and multiply the depraved assholes over there. If these
hypocritical deviants can't control and help themselves in the presence of a King, let

30
them stay there forever and fuck the locals and bless them after! Good riddance! And
so that is exactly what happened.

This horrid abuse goes on for roughly 300 years until the Spanish dissipate their
lust and starts giving away land to their loyal related sons of sycophants.... Via
patronage, the land is then tended by the quasi mestizo insulares natives and the
proceeds of the crops is then used to educate the new elite Filipinos. The dawn of the
Filipino Ilustrados now cometh. Then these Illustrious Pinoys gather ideas in Europe
and start speaking out for themselves. They see the hypocritical injustices of the
Spanish and they start liberating themselves from their insular colonial mentality.

Genius Renaissance Man Jose Rizal comes forth and writes Noli and Fili and all
enlightened hell breaks loose. But he is soon arrested, found guilty of saying it as it is..
He then gets shot at the back with no honor. He is a brown pretentious trying hard to
be educated Savage and he deserves his death. It's just GomBurZa business. But at
the moment of death, he does turn to face the sky to regain his honor as a brown
noble. He isn't stupid.

But alas life goes on in these worthless Islands and Islanders. Before long, the
Americans are coming. It's a changing of the colonial guards. Spain does not want to
be seen as defeated by the brown idiot savants so they gladly sell the islands to the
US for $20M. As soon as the ink is dry, the US probably feels buyer‟s remorse
because they have been had. The Philippines is equivalent to a clunker that was sold
by a very good used galleon salesman. With a mostly insolent, double faced, lazy,
psychologically and intellectually incapacitated, corrupted and savage native
population, it will be a reach to tame this wild horse. But tame them they must.

And so war is imposed upon us so we begin to behave somewhat like decent


civilized people. By hook or by crook.....Behave! Behave? Haha! Yeah behave. Get an
education you lazy brown bums, build a business, work and behave just like the rest of
us. Like the Spanish, they see us as wild and crazy wild boar savages. These too long

31
in the sun shriveled stupid and emotional hoi polloi Filipino masses that look like
raisins are worthless. How dare these audacious undisciplined idiots declare an
independent democratic republic! Who are they kidding? They are not worthy! And so
Pres. McKinley declares 'Benevolent Assimilation' aka take down the Filipinos and
force them to submit. The Americans bring in their hicks of the white US army who still
have a chip on their shoulder for losing to the North in Lincoln's Civil war. They must
be appeased for their loss. This bloodlust is then unleashed to kill Filipinos who they
view as slightly more elevated than askal dogs. We are indiscriminately murdered by
the hundreds of thousands like wild buffalos in the West.

Then finally we submit after the Balangiga, Batangas and Jolo Massacres,
COLT45, the simulated drowning waterboarding torture, the Cholera epidemic et al.
Gen Miguel Malvar could no longer stand the cruelty and gives himself up. We are now
an American colony. But that ingrained rebellious, bahalana, lazy bobo, self destructive
streak of Filipinos still remain. The Americans know it. They abhor it. Yeah the elites
abide by the new Colonialists and drink of the re-education Kool aid and Hollywood
propaganda but the insidious noxious hoi polloi culture is still very present. And when
the Japanese invade and sack Bataan, Gen MacArthur proclaims 'I shall return'. It's not
because he is sympathetic to the Filipinos, it's because the Philippines was a 'territory'
of America and that insult to American imperialism by Japan must not stand. And so he
proceeds to get the Philippines back and liberates us for American interests. After the
war, he goes to Japan and couldn't care less about the abuses of the US military
industrial complex and their negative cost benefit analysis of our ruined Filipino cities,
loss of lives, lack of war veterans benefits and destruction of our vital infrastructure.
They were only too happy to give us our independence. It's cheaper that way.

And why would they help us? These crazy Pinoys love Uncle Sam anyways!
Abuse them more, they love you long time! And so that pattern goes on and on and on.
We could not wean ourselves from the power of their imperial culture. The Stockholm
Syndrome is strong. In the meantime, we finally get our independence and take a
crack at co-dependency democracy. Freedom is so cool! We can do anything we want!

32
That is so like us wild savages! Let's experiment! And since 1946, what have we got?
Neo-colonialist sell out Amboys, a tin pot Dictator, a bunch of clustered super
congested cities with multitudes of squatters, lots of idle boonies, vast lands with little
production, pretender celebrities as politicians and more of the fish and fuck. We own
the 3rd World tag. We are the 2nd most ignorant country in Asia. We have failed to
unite the clans and find a common purpose. We keep focusing on stupid nonsense
issues while we grow to 110M souls. We don't have a respected Army or Navy. We
can't even be a major rice producing country. What we have instead is an army of
OFWs with millions of indolent pahingi dependents and separated families. We also
have a few exploitative spoiled brat oligarchs and their brown nose minions and the
undisciplined barabara bay Bobocrazy who can't even think a coherent thought nor
write a coherent sentence or paragraph. In the meantime, the middle class is
decimated. There is a massive brain drain and our red neighbor up North is.... Oh
shitz... The dragon is awake! And we just kept on partying and dancing to Quezon's
Disco Inferno while shooting ourselves in the foot...

I can't help saying but we did this to ourselves. China must be looking at us like
a bunch of kid clowns who got Daddy's nice car and proceeded to just go on wild rides
with no responsibility whatsoever. No need for DL, no need for lessons, no needs for
driver courtesy, just be free and drive and get out of the way!!! But pretty soon Daddy
will come home and find out his rebellious son stole the Jeepney and will spank him
silly for doing such a stupid thing. But then again, maybe he won't for he doesn‟t come
home anyway... He works in Kuwait while Mom bleeps the neighbor. But that is not the
rule of nature's God. Someone will come and put a stop to that craziness and we have
been doing it upside down here totally corrupt and self abusive for decades.. Praise
the Lord! And now we are ripe to be colonized again because we have run the
Philippines like undisciplined narcissistic children, over-reacting, not learning lessons,
releasing the inner baboy and doing their bidding while singing the 'AmaNamin'.

And here is what I mean. Democracy like driving is for adults. It ain't for savage
entitled kids in the boonies. It is not for spoiled brats who only look after their self

33
interest.. Freedom of the Press is not an opportunistic Free for all. You still have a
responsibility to look after the National interests. U all want respect from foreign
powers? Deserve respect. Grow up. Look after your fellow FILIPINOS with dignity,
consideration, courtesy and respect and the world will treat you accordingly. Have a
sense of community. Eliminate poverty. Have a sense of Nation. Quality Education.
Provide our people good jobs within. Serve the people.. Care for the citizen's well
being. Enough of the zero sum games! Can't you see.....? The multitude broken, the
poor.. The suffering... The victims..... I speak to the enlightened educated... It's the
local economy Stupid! Hoi polloi or elite, in the hinter islands and cities, in the regions
and barangays, we are brothers and sisters Pinoys. We have got to find a good reason
to unite as one. And here is a thought... Maybe we were never meant to be one. This
was all a 'Spanish Imposition'. The idea of the 'Philippines' is an ego trip of a long
deceased King and empire that can never be grasped or comprehended by little brown
brothers.

But we're here now living in mirages and bubbles. Too many are in the margins
exploited by the cogs in the system. Our brand of neo colonialist democracy has not
advanced the cause of Filipino dignity for many. We have acted like savages, so we
will be led by savages. Act like righteous hypocrites, we get worse. Go smell the
trampled roses. We deserve what we get and that's why the light of freedom and
tolerance is closing. There is no sense of what's really important. Puro basagan ng trip.
There is not much honor... The bank of Mercy is in bankruptcy. We really can't get our
act together.

So Wake up! No one cares 4 those that merely do lip service. We think the
world values us but they don't because we don't value our fellow Filipino citizens. We
think like egocentric little brown slaves but slaves are always pawns, attrition and
collateral damage. So engrossed in our simplistic mediocre small world.So mired in
muck.Our own worst enemy. Whatever will be will be. And so there.. So bring on the
Chinese invasion. Let them do battle in our shores. Let us cheer like children while
they destroy and erase our fragile damaged culture. We are used to abuse anyway.

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We smile at the face of danger. We love those that take us for granted. And when the
warships and reckoning comes, just like Rizal, hold your head up.. We don't win
anyway so let's die in glory like Olympic gold medalists. For one thing we are good
at.... Ang mamatay ng dahil sa iyo. Hanggang doon na lang at maraming salamat po....

Welcome to the islands of the Los Indios... The geopolitical winds are changing.
The chickens have come home to roost. Madness..... It's still in our hands.. This is on
us. We have got to make this work! Hail DU30 King of the fools..Pawn or Poon? The
choice.... is ours.

ADDITIONALS:

To me this is a non issue... But the dignity of 110M Filipinos is an issue. If these
statements against God was an attack on faith, then its a big failure. God only became
more relevant.. Du30 looks like he stirred an hornets nest. He is only diminished by it
unless the CC miscalculates and overreaches and then they make Du30 the second
coming of Martin Luther... But whatever DU30's diminishment, this does not
necessarily benefit his visible opposition either. As a matter of fact, when people look
at the alternative, they say.. Well yeah Du30 is such an asshole..Pero we would rather
smell his big time farts than go back to the yellow crap before it. We will wait it out
because the alternative is worse.. This ass can't articulate.. But for whatever his
imperfections, at least he says it straight. Better an honest ass than a wolf in sheep's
clothing anytime.

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With The Clueless Opposition, Duterte Must Be Rolling,
Laughing!

By PioGoco, somewhere (June 25, 2018) ·

This is classic DU30. While the opposition reactionaries are busy focusing on
chomping into that watermelon ruse (see the FB posting for better appreciation), he is
doing the old switcheroo, fulfilling his agenda and in the process also taking the
opposition's lunch money.

The thing is... They keep falling for it again and again. This is a thinking man's
game he is playing to take his opponents out of position. If you bite into his ruses, you
are distracted to his larger more compelling issues. When he does his so called lecture
speeches, it's mostly a ruse. But look at his policies and where he spends taxpayer
funds. Look at what is written and those he signs that becomes the law of the land.

There is a huge disconnect between his incoherent rambles and his policies. The ones
written down which becomes law is the real DU30. What you see on TV is play time
and his own version of verbal somersault stunts and quasi entertainment. Yeah I
know.. He is confusing the hell out of his opponents and friends and making his
adversaries react wildy. There is a mixture of truth to what he says publicly but he does
not reveal too much there. He has even stated it. In the closed door cabinet meetings,
that is DU30 there in the midst of his loyal appointed. Get to see him there command
and direct his troops and you will see something entirely different. You don't see his
moderate cabinet members revolting en masse there are you?

And if you insist in reading Du30 the way you want, you will come to sheer
exhaustion. And that is called Psych warfare.. Du30 is forcing you to think and focus.
He is pushing you out of your comfort zone. He wants to outposition the judgemental

36
neocolonial dogmaticswho have shallow context. And that's well and good because we
need to really think and strategize for the progress and future of our nation.

But By The Way, Duterte Is Not My Idol

Pio Goco at Goco Ancestral House (June 11 2018)

With all my commentary on DU30, good people tend to think he is my idol.


Actually my idol is Ninoy Aquino. His death made my political awakening at 16
possible. DU30 is not my idol. I am semantically as far away from him as oil is to water.
I don't need to insult people and exhort crass language to make my points. I do cringe
when he does those things. His loose tongue also gets him in trouble with the puritan
Press.

So why do I keep writing about him? He is the single most repeated topic on my
FB wall ever. No other topic or personality comes close. A friend is collating all my
DU30 writings and commentary and turning it into an eBook ( this is the eBook! ). So
why? Well to be honest.. I really find him honest. Brutally honest. I find his cause
noble. He reminds me of Don Quixote fighting the windmills even though he is more
the image of Sancho Panza. His quixotic quest to change the course of Philippine
history is heroic. This is a guy who is in pain, flawed, cranky, tired and old and yet he
soldiers on because of a vision of a more dynamic Philippines.

In some ways he also reminds me of Holden Caulfield of JD Salinger's Catcher


in the Rye. He endeavors to protect the good children from falling off the Rye cliff. He
is like Jesus at the Temple of David angry, livid, hurling loud invectives, driving away

37
the merchants. Walasiyangpakialamkungsinoangmasaktan. He is determined to rid the
house of God of thieves.

DU30 is an enigmatic man. He keeps me on my toes. He makes me think unlike


other President's who make me tune out and snooze. He rides that fine line between
triumph and disaster and on occasion he stumbles but that is so freaking brave. He is
not a politician in the sense of what we know how politicians act. He could not care
less if you agree with him or he is popular as long as he is on the side of doing things
right in good faith. It's like Mr. Smith Goes to Washington. He is an idiot no ego savant
undeterred by the power politics of Imperial Manila. Trabaho at serbisyo sa bayan lang
Parekoy!

When you see him with the OFW's he bows to them gratefully many times. If
anything, he is for the working Filipino man and woman. He listens to them. He fights
and weeps for them. He understands their pain and longing. I wish I admired a more
polished being. Gads President Marcos was far more polished and yet I detest him. He
sugarcoated his noble brown bearing with dictatorship and greed. DU30 is the
complete opposite. He is a kanto boy turd that has enlightenment. In all image and
bearing, he is unbecoming and at times magsasaka ghastly. He could be walking in
Quiapo alone and I would not be able to single him out. His mouth is even more baho.
My Atenean sensibilities wince at his elocution and style. But his heart.. Oh his heart. I
embrace his heart. He makes me weep for his heart for the people is pure. He sees us
as better images of ourselves. He says to me... Don't tread and trample on the dignity
of the Pinoy! Api at abusado na kami. Dehado na kami. We are sitting ducks but he
makes the brown dirt hampaslupa rise up.

DU30 has taught me valuable lessons. Just do the right thing and we the people
will affirm you. They may disagree but they will say it's necessary. He has the blunt
audacity to say it as he sees it and disciplines the little children and they still come to
him. Deep within they appreciate him for it. The tough love of TatayDigong saves them
from more misery and trouble. And just like Sean Connery's Cop character Jim Malone

38
in 'The Untouchables', I respect him for laying it out to me straight kahit na ang dami
na niyang tama ng bala. 'What are you gonna do about it!' He does it.

Naawa ako sa kanya. It's like at times he is shouting at a dead carcass.


Tanggap na nila na trying hard second rate copy cat lang sila. Tanggap na nila na
hindi sila ganun kagaling. Even one Olympic Bronze medal, miraculo na sa amin. Pero
sinasabi niya... 'Kahit ikaw ay aping api at minsan di mo na alam kung sino ka na,
bubulabugin kita kahit bungi na ako kasi mahal ka pa rin ng Diyos. Putang ina,
ipaglaban mo sarili mo! Mahalin mo ang lupa at lipunan mo. Kasi nagpakamatay sila
para sa iyo! Kahit binaboy ka na ng kung sino sino, nandiyan pa rin ang Bandila at
Republika mo! Tandaan mo ito... Huwag kang paaalipin kasi mas magaling ka pa sa
mga ungas na yan. Galingan mo! “Hayop” ang puso mo Filipino!'

I would rather look up to Mar Roxas. He represents my class and aspirations of


what a polished Filipino looks like.

But just like honest probinsiyano Abe Lincoln who was also visually awkward,
he, DU30, seized the issues of his time without illusions nor pretense. His words live
on in greatness. He was assassinated for he made America look at its grievous horror
and error of Racism and Slavery and freed them. They are in a better place now. So is
DU30 fighting our enemy within.

DU30 deals with our oppression and our Slave mentality. There is no
slaveowner when there are no slaves. Empower the regions. Take up your own cross
and make some thing of yourselves. Your Patron is your education, your spirit,
character, talent and your ideas. Learn from the dayuhan but apply it herein. Raise the
bar. Your destiny is in your hands. God is more than willing if you move in faith and
make it happen. Your power is within.

And I wish someone else more guapo and polished said this straight to me. I
wish it was the image of the Catholic Jesus who swept me off my feet. But we are not

39
in a perfect world and neither is DU30. So I will take whatever 'Ganito Yan' hard
lessons he can teach me and I will love my country enough that I will dispense with the
Bull Shit. I will listen to his acts.

Our people do deserve better even if an Ass has to lead them. And maybe he
really isn't an Ass but the answer to our prayers. God moves in mysterious ways and
when he does, liberty always happens next. And like Ninoy, like Lincoln, like Jesus,
Don Quixote and Holden, let the Filipino be free and let them be free within so they can
bravely seize their potential and opportunities. Tis a paradox. Tis a mystery.. What an
act. Such a riot! DU30 is so effin flawed! And in his enigmatic brokenness... As long as
the heart is sound, Salamat.

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SECTION II

TAAL, BATANGAS, THE HERITAGE TOWN.


THE PILGRIMAGE TOWN FOR PATRIOTISM.

The Taaleno Filipino. A Profile in Parallel

By Pio Goco at Goco Ancestral House (January 24, 2016)

Back in my carrier telecom heydays in the USA, I used to do credit assessments


and profiling. Basically I look at a series of variables and see if a client is credit worthy
or risky. At times I got so good at it, I already knew within a few minutes of reading
their profile if a client was an acceptable risk or a bad one and if so, they must prepay
for services or we walk. My assessment was usually right and the high risk clients
usually end up prepaying.. This process is similar to character profiling. I can usually
tell within a series of candid posts on FB what that person is or what their character
tendencies are. It's not a perfect science but the key is to get it close to a variable
range so you can anticipate future action based on past behavior. Call it intuition
sharpened by years of doing analysis work and logical deductions but it works.

So now that I am in Taal, what do I make of Taalenos? Well, there is not a more
entrepreneurial or hard working lot as these people. They wake up early in the morning
and go about their days and they are usually asleep by 9pm. They love their traditions
and are proud of their heritage although the new kids on the block seem to be into their
cell phones a lot. They love interaction as the dynamic in the town streets encourages
relationships and with relationships come gossip. The 'Dungawan' tradition continues.

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If you get to town, people generally know if you are around. They can see you in your
house so there is a sort of transparency that is not common in towns that value privacy
more. This is a place for people who would like to seek a cure for depression due to
loneliness for this town is never lonely. When you go down the streets, there are
connections everywhere, in the market, at the bakery, the barbershop, the Basilica, the
Sari Sari store etc, etc. Taaleno's like to talk loud and boisterous. You think they are
fighting when they speak but they are just full of passion. Their tricycles and jeep
mufflers are loud and when they play music, it is loud. They are a vivid lot and they
love loud parties and celebrations. There is always something different happening in
Taal and it's this vibe that excites me because it‟s never ever mundane or routine for
me. There is this energy, this grace, this flow that all Taalenos share and it has to be
imbibed experientially. You have to come and sleep here for a few days if not a week
to feel it because it cannot be described from atop a remote promontory.

As I get to know the Taalenos there is something in their DNA that seems to be
unique and yet quite common to all. It is a peculiar thing but I will explain it here. It
seems the Taalenos are prone to unexplained suffering which brings about a deep
soul. It goes something like this. 'Ginagawa ko naman ang lahat nang tama, pero bakit
nagkaganito ang buhay ko? Hindi ko maintindihan kung bakit napakasakit Kuya Eddie!'
To those that don't understand this dynamic, they usually end up broken hearted and
resigned to their fate. Most leave. Those that can't leave turn inward and fade slowly
each day because there seems to be no logic... To those who understand it, they
usually pick themselves up and keep pushing forward, ever resilient, always looking
up.. Classic Taaleno for you. Well let me tell you Bro's and Sis's why you are
hardwired for this.

It started in 1572.. Juan De Salcedo established Taal by the lake and for about
200 years, they were the capital of the Galleon trade. They were hardworking,
prosperous, creative, artistic, meticulous, have such excellent attention to detail and
have great pride in their work. There were three prosperous centers in the Philippines
back then. Manila, Cebu and Taal. Taal was like Subic Bay but not honky tonky. It had

42
a culture, a charming town, trade and commerce and world class wood products that
were exported all over the world. Then in May of 1754, Taal Volcano started erupting
and it didn't stop til December of that year. It obliterated everything including their
Amazon- like Pansipit River and their charming progressive town by the lake. Usually
one would think maybe Taal was like Sodom and Gomorrah, that it deserved to be
utterly destroyed because they are a wicked town and people but the facts betray that
assumption. They were good people, the best representation of what a Filipino can be.
They had class, education, sophistication, faith, prosperity and civility. Taal by the lake
reminds me of Boston, MA by the sea, a center of genteel sophistication in America.
And then in a period of 6 months, it was all gone. A casualty of an epic tragedy of
Atlantis-Pompeii like proportions.

So was the Taaleno that innocent? Well let‟s look at the premonition, the
foreshadowing event before it. The life of Hay Bing, the Sangley laborer who was killed
and yet lived again about 100 years before Taal's destruction. Now this guy was just a
simple hardworking fellow. He was a laborer working on the Lady of Caysasay church,
minding his own business. Then the Sangley revolt happens and because of reprisals,
he was caught in the net of arrests simply because he was a Sangley. He was taken to
Taal town by the lake and ordered killed as an example to not revolt against the
existing Spanish authorities. His dead body was then thrown into the lake for the
sharks to eat it. Shit hits the fan even when he was doing the right thing. But Hay Bing
was not only killed, he was massacred. He was almost decapitated even. Such overkill
cruelty for a person who had nothing to do with the revolt except he was a Sangley in
the wrong place at the wrong time. But something happened after this.. He was
inexplicably found alive about 15 miles south of Taal town (formerly located beside the
Taal Lake), under the Arch of Sta Lucia just off the Pansipit River the day after. The
Spanish Guardia Civil saw him and they could not explain how this tattered and torn
man was still alive but there he was breathing. He drank the waters of the well and it
was flowing out of him. His intestines flowing out of his gut. His body suffering deep
brutal cuts ala Heneral Luna in the assassination scene. You could put your entire
hand deep into his hacked neck and yet he was alive. It‟s a miracle! What these two

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true stories tell us is Taal was innocent and going about its business and yet it went
through such depths of suffering in the face of an almighty and cruel power, only Jesus
could have gone through it and live.

Such is the Taaleno.. I keep hearing of stories of many of us who have suffered
brutal cuts, slaps, rejection and unjustified deep hurts for doing the right thing. They
are perplexed by it all and yet they soldier on like San Martin.. Well let me tell you
Taalenos who you are. You are set apart for a reason. You have been cut deeply so
you can have the soul of Champions. You go through unjustified hurts and needless
sacrifice so you can be Noble.. for you have a purpose.. And then I think.. Man, the
Filipino is also like that. Yes Taaleno's went through an unprecedented 200 day
volcanic eruption which til this day is the worst case scenario for a volcanic eruption in
recorded history according to PhilVolcs. But Tacloban, Leyte also went through the
most violent typhoon ever to hit land which ravaged and raped the entire area of life.
Pinatubo erupted in 1992 and obliterated Pampanga, Tarlac and Zambales. The Bohol
Earthquake leveled the grand old churches there and ate up the Chocolate Hills. I can
go on and on ad nauseum and it happens every year! We all do our business and try
to do the right thing and Ka Bang! All gone! Oh well let's start over.. If I had the sense
to knock some sense to the Filipino, I would ask him to leave this country and never
come back.. But the die-hard Pinoys won't because this is the land where they were
born, they love the drama of great tragedy interspersed with great love and living on
the edge. They will die here if the Dragons of nature don't get them first.

So there. We are called the most emotional people on the face of the earth and
I understand why that is. How can you not be emotional when you are faced with
uncertainty and disaster yearly. It shapes and humbles you. Your character runs deep
and we are medyo baliw. But no one can doubt our deep soul and our positive
character. We can sing to the heavens and the angels will hear us because our voices
can identify with unspeakable suffering. We eat it for lunch like Mad Miriam who eats
death threats for breakfast. So, if you find yourself suffering despite the fact that you
did all the right things, well Hoop de doo! Congratulations! Welcome to the land of the

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soulful big heart! You have been set apart for a larger purpose! Great Destiny calls you
if you embrace it. You are now a Taaleno.. But most importantly, you are so deeply,
overwhelmingly, faithfully, heart and soul Filipino. Ala Eh!

PS: Suffering produces perseverance and perseverance produces character


and character, hope. If there is anything the world needs is hope.. And we have it in
abundant amounts. Pinoy, You are the light of the world.. Hindi ka Alipin. Huwag ka
magpa-alipin. Be that light of hope and move the world with your stories of epic legend
kasi you have the deep heart of a Champion! Now about that brain... ;)

Taal‟s Santa Lucia - The Heart and Wellspring of a Nation,


Pressed Down, Shaken Together, Running Over

By Pio Goco at Goco Ancestral House, Taal (January 14, 2016)

Taal's verse of historic abundance and importance... Luke 6:38 "Give, and it will
be given to you. They will pour into your lap a good measure-- pressed down,
shaken together, and running over."

The glorious Filipino stories of many layers of generations here are so full of
essence and substance. It is a very rich narrative, a quadruple cup of espresso, a
robust helping of Cafe Barako or spirited Lambanog. You can cut the grace here with a
knife.. You can feel it when you walk the quiet streets at night and when you meet the
rugged yet soulful people during the day. I now understand why there is so much grace
here in Taal.. Because they went through such unprecedented deep suffering and

45
overcame.. Like Sangley laborer Hay Bing who was innocent, brutally cut deep,
massacred, thrown into the lake and left for dead and yet lived again, so did Taal go
through it. Hay Bing was inexplicably found alive under the arch of the Santa Lucia
wellspring just like the Taaleno's who sought refuge there in Caysasay by the river
when they evacuated from their destroyed lakeside town during the epic 200 day Taal
Volcano eruption of 1754. At Caysasay is where Filipino's made their brave stand
against their cruel master... They stood on their knees engulfed in ashfall... When they
were weakest was when they were strongest.. By sheer grace, they lifted like a
Phoenix rising from the ashes and thereafter built the biggest Catholic church in the
entire archipelago to thank the same God who caused so much pain, loss and
suffering. God saves them from certain death so we can tell the stories and understand
who we are as a people.. May we not forget..

For the deep overcoming heart and soul of a nation, our nation's wellspring is
here.. And it is still here by the waters of Santa Lucia and I run to it to dig it out of the
ashes, the neglect, the garbage, our forgetfulness, our selfishness, brokenness and
loss of heart, to protect, love, appreciate and cherish what our Ancestors did... For all
of us lose heart at one time or another, we are cut deeply, broken to pieces, cast away
as useless but by the grace of God, he washes it all away and heals the deep lashes
within our soul. He finds us and lifts us up. And now that your broken heart and hearth
is being redeemed and being made whole, it is your time once again to shine.
So let your storytellers tell your awe inspiring story. Drink the deep waters of life at the
well. Ring the clarion Taal Basilica bells. Gisingin mo ang tulog at buhayin mo ang mga
patay. Rise above the water and ashes of centuries. And if you tell its stories, Filipinos
will come and find their spirit, soul and strength, that they be healed from their wounds,
be possessed by pride for their own story and grow their love for people and country..
Bloom Taal Bloom, pressed down, shaken together, running over! Ala Eh!

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Taal, An Epic Filipino Story

By Pio Goco at Goco Ancestral House (December 28, 2015)

The narrative story of the Taalenos is an epic story of Biblical proportions


worthy of a Cecil B. DeMille movie adaptation. There is no other Filipino tribe or people
that have been put to the test as much as the Taaleno's have been put under. Imagine
a prosperous town by the lake with grandeur, majesty, prosperity and for almost 200
years the capital of the Galleon trade, a people wealthy, with affluence, influence, with
world class skills and talents. Then imagine all of that going under ash and water in a
200 day cataclysmic event that happened in 1754 that remains as the single worst
volcanic disaster in recorded history in the Philippines. Then imagine a people fleeing
their beautiful town and leaving behind every glorious thing of excellence that they
created, walking crestfallen in the darkness of a hail of ash, their land fallow,
obliterated and completely marred, seeking the comfort, refuge and protection of a
Miraculous Lady in Caysasay. And in this humble but potent church along the River
Pansipit, they find the faith to start over.

When someone goes through something like this, it changes them completely.
They have gone through literal fire and brimstone, all the human expressions of loss,
pain, horror, despair, doubt, disillusionment and resignation right before you, as harsh
a reality as reality can be. You either give up and go down in the depths and die or
gather the spirit and the strength to overcome and soldier on. And the Taalenos
literally went through this. This is their history. And they are forever changed by this
experience, set apart as an example so we can understand who we all are as a
people.

Through no fault of their own, they mustered the courage and faith to rise above
their situation, to heal the broken places within their soul and find a space to once
again call their own. And there they found it, on the hill overlooking the Lady's church,
they rebuilt their town again. And again, two earthquakes come to destroy what they

47
have built but finally as a mark of steadfast faith and resilience, they rise like a Phoenix
over their circumstances by erecting an awe-inspiring place of worship and
thanksgiving.. A Basilica for the masses, the largest Basilica in all of Asia, Taal Basilica
of St. Martin de Tours!

If you are looking for a Filipino story of overcoming, you need not go far. It is just
there 2.5 hours south of Manila. There you will find what it means to be Filipino. There
you will find essential stories about all of us, our soul, our spirit, our faith. And no
wonder many heroes of the Revolution then and now, men and women who fight the
good fight to free the minds and hearts of the people come from there for they are a
noble people who have overcome the worst that nature can throw at them and not only
survive but thrive. Is it any wonder that the Mother of the Philippine flag, the
Godmother of the Philippine Revolution and our foremost Filipino Nationalist comes
from there? This story has to be told again and again, to be shared to everyone
because in this story, a broken and discouraged nation can be made whole and
empowered.

For our destiny is not to be 'Alipin sa Gigilid', rather we are a brave and noble
culture, a culture that has heart, faith and resilience that effervescently emanates from
deep within us. It is an essential part of our blood and our character. The story is told
and retold. It happens yearly in our country in the many dragons of nature that wreck
havoc all over the land. But what we must understand is, we can never ever give up
even in the face of a ruthless master for what doesn't destroy us makes us stronger
and we are stronger. We just need to comprehend our experience, to see what has
always been in us all along, in the stories of our Ancestors that have preceded us. It is
in our DNA to be tough, to withstand disappointment, death, destruction, depression
and defeat and overcome this by faith, hope, tenderness, kindness, conviction,
fortitude and steadfast character. This is the Filipino story of a small town called Taal.
May you identify with this story and find your way to greatness for our time is now. Ala
Eh!

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Conserving Our Heritage

By PioGoco at Goco Ancestral House, Taal (June 2, no year)

The biggest hindrance to heritage appreciation and conservation is poverty.


Who among the poor really cares about heritage and culture when they can barely eat
three square meals a day and they have little or no education? Why would they give
importance to their heritage and culture when its third world dynamics has not uplifted
a majority of the citizens it claims to represent? Most of that Filipino heritage ek ek is
meaningless to them when their life is just living day to day survival. They will
eventually crab down most good heritage conservation intentions as superficial and out
of touch.

And the opposite is also true. The more people have a real hope and a future,
the more they brag about their heritage and culture. It is a 100% guarantee. When
more and more citizens have a measure of dignity, they then possess more confidence
and pride about their national and regional identity. They then begin to share more of
their history. For what they went through, valleys and peaks et al is a good narrative
story.

So the fight to alleviate wholesale poverty is also an advocacy for meaningful


heritage appreciation and conservation. They are inextricably linked. When one sees
tangible progress like in NCR, Central Luzon, Southern Tagalog and the Ilocos Region
where relative prosperity, infrastructure build out, job opportunities, human
development and a higher quality of living are felt, expect more attention to heritage,
history and cultural concerns. But in poor and marginal provinces and regions like
Samar, Camarines Norte, Catanduanes, Masbate, Isabela et al, heritage conservation
takes a back seat.
So focus on addressing an ingrained poverty syndrome first and via meaningful
reforms, create a better dynamic that replaces patronage and a dole out mentality.
Enable a rewards and entrepreneurship environment in the regions which creates

49
opportunity. This will then bring about a prosperity mentality which will create more
engines of the economy and thereafter heritage appreciation and conservation efforts
in line with nation building automatically happens everywhere.

Christmas Town in Taal

By Pio Goco at Goco Ancestral House, Taal (December 3, 2015)

Taal town on my mind.. I woke up this morning and I saw a vision of a shining
Taal town upon a hill with Basilica Taal as the centerpiece.

A mere 2 hours south from Manila, Old Town Taal, Batangas has the largest,
most breathtaking Catholic Church (St. Martin de Tours Taal Basilica) in Asia. In its
hearth are „Historic Ancestral Homes‟ that are not only beautiful but also diverse in
architectural scope and heritage. Old Town Taal is a one of a kind preserved
representation of a bygone era of long ago. It actually reminds me of a „Christmas
Town‟ similar to the ones they have in Europe and the US. This made me think.....what
better way to feature the Heritage Old Town of Taal to the larger world than to make it
THE Christmas Town „Noche Buena‟ Capital of the Philippines!

With Taal Basilica as a Centerpiece and the young children of Taal as the key
role players in partnership with the local Catholic parish and the Taal community, we
can organize and train a „Taal Boys or Children's Choir‟ that will rival the Viennese
Boys/Children's Choir. The „Must See‟ event of the year is when the Taal Children's
Choir joyfully sings classic and timeless Filipino Christmas songs to high heavens
accompanied by a „Taal Symphony Orchestra‟ (optional) during the „Christmas Eve

50
Misa De Gallo Mass‟ at the Taal Basilica. If we are able to gather more interest, this
event can also perhaps be telecast LIVE throughout the Philippines.

Prior to the Mass, there can be a „Child Jesus Symbolic Water Baptism‟
ceremony at the sacred „Balon ni Santa Lucia‟ which according to history and oral
tradition is where the first recorded Apparition of the Virgin Mary in the entire
Philippines took place. After the symbolic baptism and prior to the Mass, there can be
a culinary „Parada Nang Pasasalamat‟. In this Parada, the famed breakfast fare of Taal
Tapa and Longanissa, Taal Tsokolate, Taal Suman, Taal Panutsa, Cafe Barako and
other Taaleno Culinary specialities are featured as baptism offerings. They are Taal's
„gold, frankincense and myrrh‟ offerings to the child Jesus. The Parada Nang
Pasasalamat (Parade of Thanksgiving) can start from the „Balon ni Santa Lucia‟ and
„Our Lady of Caysasay Church‟ to share gifts and offerings, then up to the „San
Lorenzo Steps‟ then to the „Basilica Taal‟ for the Misa De Gallo celebrations.

I then saw a Taal Basilica frontage and altar draped in all the festive colors and
flowers of Christmas with a Giant Lit Christmas Tree in the front parking area of the
Basilica. The „Creme Dela Creme‟ of Taal Society as well as the local community of
Taal are front and center attending the Midnight Mass at the Basilica wearing various
kinds of the finest „Taal Barong Tagalog‟ in all its „Embroidered‟ and „Calado‟ finery and
sophistication. In their Bahay na Bato Ancestral Houses which are all open for guests
and tourists alike are Christmas trees, parols, buntings, green and red poinsettia
flowers and gifts galore.

After the „Misa De Gallo Mass‟ and the „Children's Choir‟ has sung to high
heavens, there can perhaps be a Christmas lights show and then Fireworks. Then the
Christmas festivities and early morning „Noche Buena Breakfast in Taal‟ culinary and
heritage customs and traditions in the various historic homes take place. „Christmas in
Taal‟ with all the unique architectural, historical and culinary characteristics
complementing it will be showcased to all.

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An event like this will put Taal, Batangas on the map of must see places to go and for
one day of the year, all the attention of the Philippines will be on Taal as they celebrate
the glorious Christmas Eve Mass. So how about it? For the love of Taal, can we do
this?

Since I wrote this post years ago, that vision is coming to fruition......

Maligayang Pasko Old Town Taal Style!! ALA EH!!

Taal, We Must Try . . .

By Pio Goco at the Goco Ancestral House (July 30, 2014)

If you are wondering why I am posting at FB at the dead of night.. Well, this is
the only time I can post my story updates in Taal.. I can only do it when everyone is
sleeping..You see WiFi is so bad now after Typhoon Glenda that I have to sleep early
so I can wake up when everyone is asleep so I can have my turn on the measly 1
MBPS Broadband bandwidth which this entire town perhaps shares.

Much like everything that happens in this crazy country, we live on crumbs
when we can live in plenty. It's the culture of lesser when we can clearly do better. It's
the crab mentality when we can choose human hospitality. We use and abuse, with
bullying blunt force trauma and lots of drama instead of kindness and fairness with a
spoonful of wellness. We adore the foreigner but not too much but for sure we hate
each other. We are the people who are used to the stench of abject poverty. We have
hypnotized ourselves from the depravity and do not want to see it, even if it‟s present
in every street corner and hierarchy. We do not care for these poor children awake in

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the deep dark, begging for alms to feed their stomachs. We would rather they go away
never to return and bring their hunger someplace else, just not here. We are so used
to making baluktot so we can fit in the kumot, but the kumot is still way too small.

A lot of people here have lived this way for so long or are not here no longer.
They actually prefer it this way since they do not know any other. They do not have
any new ideas. They just blabber and blabber, content on accusing the other and
complaining the night away. Bitter as wormwood and hell bent on obsolescence they
are. And when someone has a wonderful idea that can serve others, they smash that
person and say "No You Can't Do That!" They are poisonous to human creativity,
positive dynamic and good faith initiative. They want to steal your thunder, kill your
spirit, destroy your soul. They want this town in a fishbowl and buried on the bowels of
the earth, forgotten, forsaken, quiet and aloof. They couldn't care less if this town
progresses. They couldn't care less for the humanity in this place. What they care
about more are old stones and rotten houses instead of human lives, their potential
and promise. No Win-Win paradigm for these twisted people. They totally miss the
point. They cannot see that it is quite possible to do both.

My fellow Taaleno‟s, this is the “culture of poverty” rearing its ugly head. No
one can and must take initiative. Only when the Master Landlord speaks must the rest
follow. Let‟s wallow in the muck and dirt, in the fading memories and burnt offerings, in
petty legal arguments, suits and conflicts.. Let‟s wait and wait and wait and have
someone oversee and overpower us until we miss our life and opportunities while we
get tired and old of waiting. We are not in control of our destiny…. Rather some
distant outsider is. And we made it that way, Damn it.

It's just like our Democracy. We have gone 28 years since the birth of our new
Democracy and still now, we are "Isip Bata". We are as petulant, as conniving, as self-
engrossed, self-consumed, immature and egotistic as before if not worse than before.
We are the big fish in the small pond sucking the life out of everyone. It isn't fun to be
around our people like these.. Landlord Plantation top down mentality and all.. They

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have everything except the most important thing... a soul. We feel so victimized, so
hurt, that we hurt even the poor innocent. We would rather contemplate going back to
the slavery that is Egypt and Dictatorship than continue our mission to reach the
Promised Land and Freedom. And so we wander the desert, going round and round,
lost and inutile, with no vision, unfound... We insist on wearing the same infant clothes
when we are grown adults. It not only looks foolish, it looks pathetically pitiful. Grown
men wearing lampin is not my idea of Macho Pinoy Manhood. This is no place for
BOYs in Mask and Hood.

So we who are alive and have common sense cannot and must not permit this
anymore. Our country's freedoms cannot be in chains once again. We will not submit
to this slavery of spoiled brat stupidity wearing a mask of angry intellectualism and
statism. So to those who say we must not change. I say to you, you are our enemy.
We will fight for our right to party, to grow, to meet our destiny. We will fight for those
children who are marginalized and hungry because you refuse to change. You have
made your ego bigger than the whole, at the expense of the town, the people and the
hallowed hall. You say we cannot profit from our endeavors of culture here but I say,
oh but we must! How else can we prove the good work of our hands if there is no
fruit?? There must always be FRUIT! Because as my Mother Marietta has always
said, “By the fruit shall you know”! There can never be any compromises with the
Spirit of Darth. You are the ones who put us into darkness. You are the heart of
darkness. Out out you damned spot! I fight and rebuke you in Jesus mighty name!

Taal is dark. 1 MBPS bandwidth dark. It‟s not One MegaBits per second. It‟s
One MegaBullshit per second and it stinks to high heavens. But we shall bring light to
it. 100 MBPS light! Gigabit pa sana kung puwede pa! Let there be sweet, heroic
Light!! It must shine like the sun light! Taal: A Shining Town Upon The Hill. No longer
quiet and asleep but awake and vibrant.. Rich in the best of Filipino culture, heritage
and life, rich in history and not in blight. Historic Old Town Taal has no more excuses.
It must lead. It is its manifest destiny to lead for it is the center of the Tagalog Culture
and the Tagalog language has become widespread throughout all the land. Its

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influence is vast. Taal Basilica is not the largest Catholic Basilica in the Philippines and
South East Asia for show. Its destiny is not to be empty. It was not made to be merely
displayed like it was Goddess Athena on top of a pedestal. It was made to be used. It
was made so that people of faith of every race and nationality can worship in it and fill
it to the rafters with living souls. It‟s purpose is to be the light of Jesus Christ and the
source of Freedom in the land. Taal is a place of adoration and divine worship as
much as it is the center of Tagalog culture. It is the town of the living, not the dead and
the deceiving. The walls must not echo in silence rather in the spirit of renewal and
dynamism, it must sing a soaring song up to the heavens! Let the clarion bells of Taal
ring!

What happens in Taal happens to the rest of the Philippines. If Taal sleeps, the
Philippines slumbers. The fight to free this country for good, for legacy, starts here in
this sleepy old town desperately desiring to purge the enemy in its midst. San Martin
De Tours calls out the charge. In every rotting or ruined Ancestral house is the rotten
and corrupt spirit of our culture. We must bring them back alive, one house at a time,
one memory and Ancestry at a time. It would be better if there are more of us who
believe in the right cause so we can do this quicker. Let the people of the light come
forth and may they enthusiastically froth! Let us work together to give this town life, a
hope and a future. We must give Taal a rebirth, a new spirit of hope and
perseverance. We must bring light to these now dark places where only the fading
memories of the dead now lay. It is time to take the darkness away. And then
perhaps there can be a Renaissance in our Nation's lives. And then perhaps we can all
live in peace, harmony and prosperity. And then perhaps we can all be truly free.

We must try. Oh spirits of Martin Luther, St. Paul the Evangelist, St. John Paul
II, Alexis de Tocqueville, St. Martin De Tours, Our Lady of Caysasay… Help us! We
must try!

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The Pansipit River Runs Through It

By Pio Goco at the Goco Ancestral House (January 23, 2016)

I first saw the Pansipit river when I was a little kid. It bisected the town of
Lemery and Taal. We knew we were in Taal town once we crossed the river from
Lemery and the welcome arch of Taal beckoned. Lemery was a palengke, noisy and
commercial but once you entered into Taal, the entire scenery changes dramatically
and the old Ancestral Houses start showing up one by one. My Dad had fond stories of
the river. When he was a kid in the 40‟s, most of the Goco‟s evacuated into Taal to
escape the violence happening in Manila during WW2. He enrolled in Taal‟s Rizal
College for a couple of years. The family set up a restaurant alongside the Goco
Ancestral House to serve the American GI‟s who converted Taal to a mini-Olongapo
after they took possession of the town from the Japanese. He would tell stories of his
brothers and him fishing for fun along Pansipit River. He said the river was so rich with
fish back then. You would lay out your fishing rod and within a few minutes, you would
catch either Maliputo or Tawilis which they caught via nets. Vegetation grew profusely
by the river. He would pick out young Pako ferns and Bahay Kubo veggies along the
river and bring them home to be served as family fare. Life in the Taal countryside was
easy, more so along the side of the Pansipit River.

When I was a kid, I was told that from the area around the River Pansipit, the
Tagalog language started, got developed and prospered. I thought it was a myth
perpetuated by the lasengo and mayabang na Batanguenos. How can a rich and
dramatic language that is now pervasive all over the archipelago prosper in a river that
looks so puny and shallow? The Taga-Ilog language must have prospered somewhere
else along a more dignified and mighty river like the Pasig or Bulacan Rivers.

As a child, you really don‟t get to know context as much. What you see is what
you get. You see the land and that‟s it. You don‟t get deeper but you just enjoyed

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everything more. You don‟t ask questions, you experience. Medyo mababaw kasi
happy go lucky lang naman ako noon. Picture picture and good fun and adventure na
lang muna. We spent many summers here in Taal when I was a kid visiting our „Tres
Marias‟ grand aunts. I was one of about 10 cousins who came here during the
summers and made Taal our playground. We spent most of our time by the beach in
San Luis where the Gocos had a vacation kubo. We didn‟t stay too long in Taal town
because the summers were humid. Frankly sleeping at night on a banig under a
musketero in an old house that was perceived to be haunted was not really my idea of
a good time. But I had my cousins with me and our Lolas were so hospitable and
welcomed us with open arms so it was all good.. We would walk the town streets, eat
ice-candy and halo halo, play billiard near the palengke, watch movies in old movie
houses that had dirt floors and rented bicycles so we can roam the town and
countryside. We would follow the „Dungawan‟ tradition and observe the cute teen girls
also peering from their windows across our street. I had a terrible crush on one of
them. When I walked to the Halo Halo Sari Sari store of Ka Muning whose storefront
was right in front of the neighbor‟s house, I could never look up to her window. If I
caught my crush‟s gaze, I would wilt. It turns out she was my cousin from the Goco-
Cabrera side of the family. Well hot damn! Let the Sapin-Sapin tradition continue! Ala
Eh! But it was not to be. It turned out she liked my other cousin better and I was left to
just watch them do sweet nothings by the balcony as I lulled myself to sleep and think
about what could be. She is gone now. She passed away suddenly as a result of an
aneurism. Her name was Carla Cabrera Luansing. I remember her so fondly because
she was so charming and pretty and just my type back then. I don‟t recall having
another powerful childhood crush like that ever since..

At any rate, on occasion as our cousins and I went biking, we would see the
puny river by Taal and Lemery. The Pansipit River beckoned but frankly I wasn‟t
impressed by it. I mean c‟mon look at it! It would not hold water against Pasig or even
San Juan River which flows right beside our house in New Manila. I kept to that idea
for a long time and then I started sleeping in Taal again to construct the Ancestral
house wall after a 30 year hiatus of studying, discovering myself, travelling and living

57
abroad. I have heard the vignettes of Taaleno stories before but I became more
curious this time. I began asking more detailed questions about my town, did a lot of
research, read and heard many stories and connected the dots chronologically. What I
found here under my nose completely stunned me. I was blown away. I found a
diamond of a town buried in the ground. I found an epic narrative, a whole new
appreciation and depth of context of what really happened here a long time ago which
shaped the character of this town as well as influenced the character of the nation..

When I was a teen, I used to accompany my Dad to these formal and elegant
Taaleno dances held at the Taal town plaza. The town bigwigs from the local and
national levels would show up. There was big-band music and people were dressed to
the nines in their handmade and meticulously embroidered Barong Tagalogs. They
would do the cotillion de honor and there would be National Politicians and Celebrities
on the line as well as old matrons that were dressed to impress. I always wondered
why these Taaleno‟s would even go through all the trouble to stage such lavish events
yearly. After all, the old houses around the plaza were dark and decrepit back then. It
was almost like dancing and prancing amid a graveyard of obsolescence. But the
Taalenos were a proud lot. They kept their traditions through thick and thin and I
figured out why. It‟s because they knew they were set apart. Their story was special
even if those stories about their proud and noble past were not widely shared back
then. I certainly wasn‟t aware of it myself. My Dad never really shared it to me as
much. He just brought me along as often as possible and wanted me to experience
and imbibe it. Perhaps he knew in due time, it would spark a fervor in me to find out
what made this town click and he was right.

So here I am again back to my roots and what was it about this town that
hooked me? I actually cannot say I made this choice by myself. Part of it is my
appreciation for Heritage but to be honest, I felt drawn here. When I lived in the Old
Dominion state of Virginia, USA for 16 years, I used to visit the historical sites like
Monticello, Mt. Vernon, Colonial Williamsburg, Yorktown, Alexandria, Staunton and so
forth and so on. I even worked in Georgetown in Washington, DC and loved the old

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town vibe. When I went to these places, I always remembered that we have one like
that in the Philippines which was sleepy Taal town. And perhaps as I immersed myself
in these historic towns, maybe just maybe… Hmmmm… Could it be? Well to tell you
the truth, as soon as I started sleeping here again in my Ancestral House in Taal, I felt
my old Ancestors strong presence encouraging me to step in where my Father and
Mother left off. Each night I would sleep here, I would feel stronger and inspired the
next day. It was this grounding experience of being so connected to the house since
my Ancestors lived here for so long. Part of it was mystical or spiritual because I can
sense my Great Grandfather Juan Goco‟s male presence here as well as my Lola
Angge‟s feminine hospitality. I almost felt possessed by them because I would feel so
empowered by their presence and encouragement and I am not even that mystical
myself. Years of living in the US has taught me to be efficient, process-oriented,
tangible and logical. I find mystical experiences weird but here I am being caught in the
presence of my dearly departed Ancestors that touched me within.

At any rate, I started fixing the house after finishing the wall. It was an
experience full of grace because precious items of our family heirlooms kept popping
up and all I had to do was distribute it all over the house like a „Pusoy Dos‟ player
doing diskarte with the cards given to him. I experienced this creative flow that ran
mostly on feel, serendipity and intuition. I found these long abandoned, forgotten but
valuable pieces of furniture and trinkets in dark attics and cabinets. I restored and gave
them value and appreciation all over again and by some magical manner, they all fit
perfectly where I envisioned them to go even if I never measured those spaces they
were going to go before. They were all falling perfectly into place. Kinda like Jessie in
„Toy Story‟ when he was picked to be appreciated all over again. Seeing this amazed
me because I felt I was being led to do this. I‟m not even an interior designer but when
I looked at the work I had done, I said, „How did I do this?‟ It felt like an out of body
experience. And once it was done, I began asking questions about this town and
thinking what next?

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This led me to the Pansipit River story.

I started digging for context voraciously. Some stories would pop up


serendipitously. Some people from out of the blue would share something I never
knew before. Apparently people have been living in these parts of Batangas since the
10th and 11th century. My Godmother Maribel Ongpin used to dig around here and
discovered ancient pottery from Mesopotamia along the old banks of the river deep
within the grounds of Barangay Ayao-Iyao near Lemery. Then I saw a Taal land map
pre-1754 and it all made sense. The Pansipit river used to be mighty. It was as wide as
the Amazon and as deep as 15 fathoms. Taal Lake which it connected to Balayan Bay
wasn‟t so much a lake but an inland sea. It was a natural cove that sheltered Galleon
ships from the stormy seas during the monsoon season. From this river, the Spanish
built a town called Taal near its mouth and renamed what was previously called
BonBon Lake and Volcano to Taal Lake and Volcano after Taal town. For almost 200
years, world trade went through the banks of this river. The Acapulco-Manila Galleon
route ended here. The Galleon ships would then be repaired and replenished for the
long voyages home. Taal town flourished and the townsfolk learned expert woodworks
from Japanese and Chinese craftsmen that were based here. Taal town prospered,
had an international flavor and became part of the big three centers of renown: Manila,
Cebu and Taal.. All that would not be possible for Taal without the wide and deep
Pansipit River being the natural entry point. I would imagine the natives developing
and speaking their Tagalog language along the banks of the river. The people here
came from noble backgrounds via the Royal Bornean Family, the Moors and the
Kumintangs. So this area was long civilized even before Manila was established by the
Spanish as the Nation‟s Capital.

But when I was a kid, I really didn‟t see any of that. What I saw were miles and
miles of coconut trees, sugarcane, cotton lands, the beaches, the cows and the ruddy,
loud and passionate people of Taal. So what happened? Why was Pansipit River lost
in translation? Well pure and simple, all that rich deep history, heritage and context
was wiped out. It was buried under the ground. In 1754, Taal Volcano erupted so

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mightily that it ended up destroying Taal Town by the lake, burying the mighty Pansipit
River and turned it to something slightly bigger than a stream. Pansipit‟s Amazon like
width was obliterated and now it goes in circular loops like a punch drunk boxer
desperately needing water. When that happened everything that was there before was
erased. All except perhaps The Lady of Caysasay Church built in 1639 and the Arch of
Santa Lucia built in 1611 which still stands. Those two places used to be beside the
river. Now there is no river beside it. There is a creek full of carelessly thrown trash
there now. I was advised that this creek used to be the river banks but there isn‟t any
water flowing there anymore. What is amazing is the Arch of Santa Lucia wasn‟t buried
by the compounded epic ashfall and even more profoundly, the wellspring of water that
sprouted from there still flows despite the cruelty of the changes the land around it
undertook. Let me re-emphasize this „cruelty of change‟. This violent volcanic event
dramatically changed the area‟s ENTIRE ecosystem and turned what used to be salty
Taal lake to fresh water. It also gave rise to Mt. Napayong in Mataas na Kahoy and
other new islets were born. This land was marred beyond recognition. I only
experienced it long after the deep scars were somewhat healed over. I only came into
this “movie” around the latter part of it so context mostly escaped me.

Upon my research I also found out that Juan Maningcad actually fished the
Lady of Caysasay right by that Arch. The Lady which was brought to Taal town by the
lake was likewise found there again encircled by two Kingfisher birds after
disappearing for 8 years. Hay Bing was inexplicably found there alive after being
massacred by the Spanish Guardia Civil. The Lady of Caysasay Church was then built
alongside it in 1639 and the Taal town folk went there to seek refuge during the 200
day 1754 Volcanic Eruption. This is also where the Taaleno‟s started all over again
and their faith to overcome led to them building Asia‟s biggest Catholic Basilica that
rose at the town promontory upon the hill in new Taal town in 1853. Because of the
series of miraculous and unprecedented events that happened here, I believe the Arch
of Santa Lucia is the physical manifestation of the sacred heart of the country‟s soul. It
is a representative gateway to God‟s grace and power. I cannot emphasize enough
how important and significant this one of a kind site is to the Filipinos. It is precious

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beyond life for in this place is God‟s presence in this country. It is our Nation‟s Mecca.
Our Nation‟s Temple Mount of Jerusalem. Jose Rizal fought the Spanish and that
made him a hero. He fell at Bagumbayan, Luneta and that became sacred ground. The
Taaleno-Filipino made his stand against vicious Taal Volcano at the Arch of Santa
Lucia and that made him a legend. The Filipino died and rose again at this site so it too
is sacred, perhaps even more so than the Luneta. And out of this legendary place,
there remains a healing wellspring, aka „banal na tubig‟. I have been doing my Taal
tours here since January 2015 and I can now confirm two true stories of miraculous
healing from the tourists I brought here. The sick drank the water and applied the oils
from the church and they were healed. Amazing! And by the way, guess what date is
the fiesta of the Lady of Caysasay and Santa Lucia? The Feast day of the Immaculate
Conception, December 8th. Coincidence? I don‟t believe in coincidence.. I believe in
divine confluence of a series of historical events because there is a deeper meaning in
all these things to the soul and nation. There is a mystery here in the valley of the Arch
that desperately wants to be unearthed and revealed so it can be a light to a Republic.
This place wants to tell us who we are, our noble identity so we can be moved to love
deeply our country and people and be proud of our own…

When you put them all together, a river ran through the soul of a town. That
same river albeit much smaller and humbler now still runs through the town although
the town is in a higher elevation now. As I collect all these facts and the context of it, I
asked why these stories were not passed down in that context. We seem to always live
in the present and we don‟t remember our past so much. We are not deeply rooted in
our country or our ancestry. The general aspiration for many of us is to leave this
country and become citizens of other countries. It seems we are hopelessly broken
and lost, drifting without purpose. We can‟t even define who we really are as a Nation.
Our intellectuals say we are a damaged culture. We are hopeless in our Colonial
Mentality, our widespread poverty, collective bad judgment, backward feudalistic ways,
with no common national philosophy. Others would say our country is a great place for
beaches and lovely brown bitches. Most of the male tourists come here because
apparently sex tourism is widely prevalent but the locals choose to not want to see this.

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It‟s all good because isn‟t it more fun in the Philippines? How decadent and
demoralizing we see ourselves. Where is our soul?

Well if I were to venture to speculate, it‟s because the cruel and vicious land
makes us want to forget. When you are broken hearted, you want to forget. You don‟t
want to remember the tumult and the horror of fighting mother nature who wins all
these battles anyway. You don‟t want to remember the sadness of seeing your mighty
river become dry. You don‟t want to remember your beautiful town that is under water.
You don‟t want to remember all of your precious belongings rendered useless. You
don‟t want to remember all that you worked for going under. Then add your horror
stories of vicious typhoons and earthquakes and stories of abuse, exploitation, crab
mentality condescension and oppression, you just want to leave, forget and move on
since life is short.. It is only human to want to escape, so you can build, have a
measure of permanence… so you can heal your heart again. Furthermore, if you are
uprooted ever so often by ruin and things you cannot control, you become a person
with shallow roots because it takes time to root yourself deeply in anything.. And
because you have not been able to, you become like Papillon.. a butterfly… Butterflies
can only touch but they cannot linger.. They cannot go deep because life
circumstances will not permit it so just be shallow and have fun, fun, fun but even then,
the cost to the soul for this kind of fun is heart-breaking. They lose themselves. They
become a cypher, a person of smoke and mirrors with no essence within. They hold
the illusion they belong but deep within, they are alone and before long they too are
gone. And this is what is happening and it sucks and it hurts us all. And I come to
God.. I pray for healing and redemption… Only you can heal the broken, the one in
deep pain and disillusion and make them whole again. Give them wisdom and
understanding, give them clarity in all the dark places of their soul. Give them context
and insight so they will know they have a purpose for they are so truly, madly, deeply
precious too. Give them strength to continue on, that they may value themselves for
they are God‟s image and likeness, his priceless creation.

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For life in these parts is like living with the double-edged Sword of Damocles hanging
over you. You never know when its going to fall to kill you but it will. If it doesn‟t kill
your body, it will tear your heart and soul. There is neither logic nor sense. It‟s just a
matter of time. You want to forget and along with forgetting those things that hurt you,
you also tend to forget that which marks and identifies you. You just want to leave it all
behind. Yes we tend to throw the baby along with the bathwater. That‟s what starting
over repeatedly tends to do.

So how then should we live? And I remember the mighty river and what it was
to a Nation, the birthplace of our national language, the artery to our heart and soul.
The heart suffered an attack and its artery was clogged but it still found its way to the
sea and lived on. The people by the river wounded deeply and torn overcame its
circumstances and lives on.

So how then should we live?? Be Noble, rise above your situation. For every
lash of twenty, repay with kindness and grace. For every cruelty and hurt and pain
accorded, rise in forgiveness. For every tear, wipe it away with nurturing. For every
deep wounding from within, pray and ask for restoration and healing. For every slap in
the face, rise with understanding. For every serious unexpected setback, ask for
strength. For every despair and near-death situation, embrace and give Love. For this
is the language of the land. Like Daniel who went to the Lion‟s Den, we are the Nation,
the People of Daniel. If we cannot shut the mouth of Dragons, we can certainly try to
understand them. We can be the nation of Lion Tamers. We live on the edge of
disaster and despair and yet it doesn‟t overwhelm and tear apart our body and soul.
We use the energy and momentum of the storms of life and Jujitsu them to elevate and
propel us further. We go deeper and wiser. Behold the noble Pansipit River and its
story of majesty, ruin, relentless persistence and overcoming obstacles .. to find the
sea.

So how then should we live??? Perhaps we forget and we seem shallow


because it hurts too much to remember.. And those that preceded us don‟t want to

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give us the burden of remembering how awful it was. They loved us so much to give us
a fresh start. So let the past remember the past. Let the present generation live on for
they will have their own burdens to carry once they get to know this land in their time.
And maybe just maybe… If they rise to the occasion and out of their brokenness, have
been made strong, maybe they can share the epic stories. Maybe they will not see
them as Tragedies but see them as Glories. Maybe they will see us all not as victims
but as Overcomers for we are still here. Maybe their tears will well up and be
profoundly touched by our story for we are precious, so so precious. We are the salt of
the earth. We are its soulful diamonds, our character formed by the turbulent fire, earth
and water... And when they see how valuable we all are as a people and appreciate
who we really are, maybe they can deeply love this country, nurture, lift and defend it
even if it hurts them so much. Maybe our nation‟s pride can be rooted in it. Then we
become like Warriors of Legend, Never forgotten, Immortal. We rise to the level of the
Epic and Great. We touch all of Humanity‟s brave and noble soul. Maybe just maybe…
For the resilient River Pansipit still runs through it and there is hope for all…

Taal, The Filipino‟s Rome

By Pio Goco at Goco Ancestral House, Taal (November 27, 2015)

When a prominent but old town wakes up, it's a fascinating thing to see. The
town upon the hill, Historic Taal, Batangas has woken up and is undergoing a
resurgence and Renaissance. It is the Taaleno's pleasure to reintroduce her to you
once again in her shining shimmering splendor. Taal is the capital of the Tagalog
language, the Barong Tagalog, the Balisong, the origin of the Batangas I, II, III Altar
Tables, the Panutsa, the Suman and Tablea and the turmeric Adobong dilaw. It is the
hometown of the great Philippine Nationalist Jose 'Pepe' Diokno; of Marcela Agoncillo,

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the mother of the Philippine Flag; Gliceria Villavicencio, the Godmother of the
Philippine Revolution; Felipe Agoncillo, our First Diplomat; Sen. Antonio De las Alas;
Sen. Ramon Diokno; Sen. Vicente Ilustre; Arch. Federico Ilustre, Architect of the
Quezon Memorial; Maria Orosa, Inventor of the Banana Catsup; Glass Sculptor
Ramon Orlina; and Ogie Alcasid ,OPM Legend. It is the hometown of my father the
late Amb. Raul I. Goco who served his country as Solicitor General, UN International
Law Commission Delegate, and Ambassador to Canada. It is the town that hosts the
largest Catholic Basilica in the Philippines and Asia, the Taal Basilica of St. Martin de
Tours. It is also said that the first Marian event in the Philippines happened in Taal's
Santa Lucia in 1603.

For a time, Old Taal town faded, slept and was forgotten, content in its Historic
place and accomplishment, content as the distant third Taal of renown after Taal
Volcano and Taal Lake but not anymore. In our generation and in the good people who
have decided to invest their time, creativity and resources in it, it is once again
redefining itself and taking its place of influence in this nation. It has always been a
place where Philippine Tagalog culture was immanent. It‟s been around since year
1572. Taal's air is thick with the presence of old souls and of remembrances of a
golden time long ago. In the rustic memorials and walls, you can hear the whispers of
Filipino history. In its old restored Ancestral houses, you can sense the pride of the
Filipino for its own. It is a place of destiny, of Filipino nobility and dignity, of heroic
example to the call of duty, of its elites bravely standing for liberty. It is a Historic old
town with a big heart and soul. It is the Filipino's Rome.

Come to Glorious Taal Town, The Heritage Town, where victorious and proud
Philippine History, Tradition and Culture is not only alive and well again, it is
overflowing. Ala Eh!

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What Do We Make Of Basilica Taal And Taalenos?

By Pio Goco at Goco Ancestral House (March 3, 2016)

What do I make of Basilica Taal and the Taalenos? Jesus was called either a
Liar, Lunatic or Lord. By building Basilica Taal, the Taaleno's are either beyond nuts or
have the overcoming heart and faith to silence volcanoes. Come what may, they can
never sell themselves short.

The Taalenos fate is tied to Taal Volcano's anger. Read it. Basilica Taal:
Established in 1575 then destroyed in the epic 200-day 1754 Volcanic eruption. Rebuilt
in its present site in 1755 then destroyed again by earthquake in 1849. At this point,
don't you think it wise and logical that they leave this area and go live someplace else?
Haven't they had enough? No one will blame them at all. But no.. The baliw or all-faith-
and-heart Taalenos rebuild Taal Basilica yet again and this time they freakin DOUBLE
DOWN. Ala Eh, OMG! They build the LARGEST BASILICA in ASIA in 1856 and
finished it in 1865 and there it is. It still stands. Enter the temple of the overcoming faith
of the Filipino.

And then I am moved. I am beside myself. I am blown away. This Filipino tribe
actually thinks he can quiet a volcano by his faith, his beyond brave embrace and his
steadfast love for this hellish and beyond hurt land. And I am moved by the stories of
LEGEND. More so it is not a myth but is all real, factual and historic. The legend is
made manifest. You can see it. The Filipino is not only worth dying for.. He is GREAT!!
He is EPIC. He rises to the occasion. He is NOT ALIPIN. He is the Man. His HEART
and SOUL is KING! He is LEGEND!

Oh Filipino... You are the Priceless Heart of Diamonds. But if you don't know
what you are worth, you will be lost going round and round in the desert selling
yourself woefully short. If you don't know your significance and value, you will believe
anything. If you don't know the treasure you have, you can't value it. If you don't know

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your epic stories, your context, you will be a slave, an alipin. If you don't know your
identity, how can you meet your destiny? Don‟t be gored by your own humble carabao.
It is time you became aware of who you are. It is time to plug into your character. It is
time to understand your narrative and feel your power. It is time to give dignity and
appreciation to your identity. It is time to know thyself so you will be brave and free.

The Taaleno is All Filipino. 'True to the land' as Taal is defined. The Filipino is
true. He gets it done despite of everything. The Great Pansipit River bordering Taal,
the seat of the Tagalog Language was slaughtered, massacred and obliterated and yet
it relentlessly and steadfastly found its way to the sea. It simply won't give up. It just
won't. And that is you, you all Heart and Soul Filipino. No one can come close to your
stories of battling nature. No one. Now you go be empowered by it. Go tell them your
battles! Go tell the world how you embraced the ruthless Earth, Wind, Fire and Water.
Go tell the world 'the reasons' of why we are here. The reason of why we feel. Rise to
meet your sun..

You can never be anything but noble. Anything less will be an insult to your
experience and character. Anything less will be a compromise of your beautiful,
steadfast and resilient soul. Now go and be brave and love your people. Go and
embrace your brother and sister. Go treat them equal. Go and seize your promised
land and make it bloom. Free your people from the shackles of poverty and give them
reasons to be noble like you are. For nothing is impossible with you. Nothing is
impossible to a people that has the faith, audacity and character to silence a legendary
volcano and then some more.

It is time.. Seize your day. Ala Eh!

PS: One more fascinating thing about Taalenos is their faith and their
thankfulness. Imagine.. a force majeure „Act of God‟ destroyed their beautiful town and
rendered their land a wasteland.... And yet, they were not embittered by God.. They
did not erect a tower of Babel and declare their independence from him for all the hurt

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and suffering they went through. Instead, they erected the largest Basilica in the land
to thank the same God who destroyed all they had worked for and their land. And they
come full circle. They understand they are all in God's hands. Take each day as it
comes. There is a time for everything. A time to flourish and a time to start over. A time
to rebuild and a time to celebrate.. a time to love and a time to cry. A time to live and a
time to die.. And all the colors of the rainbow of human experience are captured in this
powerful narrative of unprecedented suffering, overcoming, redemption and glory.. And
we give him all the glory.. We are just thankful for everything..

Taal, Tarlac, Tacloban: From Unprecedented Suffering


to Unprecedented Soul

By Pio Goco at Goco Ancestral House, Taal (February 25, 2016)

The Tres Trajedias of Las Islas Filipinas. Three case studies of suffering which
leads to soul.

Taal, Batangas 1754

Taal Volcano erupts for 200 days and destroys everything within the region and
a legend was born. It was early May of that year and all of a sudden Taal Volcano
erupts. At first it was a fascination but it kept going on and on and on.. The mighty
Pansipit river, the capital of the Tagalog language, as wide as the Amazon and as
deep as 15 fathoms that ran near it was obliterated. The entire Vulcano island was on
fire and the water of the inland sea was boiling. Prosperous and cosmopolitan Taal

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town by the lake was ingulfed in ashfall and then seawater later. The skies are as dark
as night for days on end and you can‟t see your hand in front of you. A typhoon comes
in. Earth-Wind-Fire-Water come in full force and fury. It is the end of the world. It is the
Epic Apocalypse. It is Macchu Picchu, Atlantis, Pompeii. Three legendary disasters in
one. Perhaps even more. The scar on the land is total. Hell fire comes in and a people
kneel wondering if death is better than living. It stops in December just before the feast
of the Lady by the river. The people stare in awe at the total destruction of the land. It
is beyond comprehension. They are totally ruined and wiped out. Everything they have
lived for, their beautiful town, their history and heritage for over a thousand years is
buried under 30 feet of ash. The Taaleno weeps and weeps and weeps until tears run
dry. They hold on to the Lady of Caysasay. Even until today, it remains the single most
catastrophic volcanic eruption on the face of the archipelago. Underneath it all, a
shattered and broken people rise like a miraculous Phoenix from the ashes and
somehow find the strength to rebuild again. They are forever changed by the fire and
brimstone experience that was way over the top. It shapes them and later on they build
a cornerstone Basilica, embracing their fate with faith. It is their beyond baliw brave
statement of steadfast and audacious love for the land. Even until today the land has
an enchantment that has come about by the scar on that earth. Unprecedented grace
comes from unprecedented suffering and the Taalenos today are defined by it. It is by
and large the absolute worst natural disaster a people have overcome and these are
Filipinos who went through it.

Capas, Tarlac 1942

The Japanese have invaded the Philippines. They take Corregidor and force the
surrender of Filipino and American troops. Because of the delays in taking this bastion,
the Japanese are angered and proceed to commit the worst atrocities known to man.
They order the prisoners of war to walk in the hot and humid summer time to Capas,
Tarlac where the prison camps are. They are not fed nor their thirst quenched. They
drop like flies and if they collapse, they are bayoneted to death. It is a pilgrimage on
the razors edge. It is the horrific Capas Death March. The Filipino with his American

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brothers are forever bonded together because of common unprecedented suffering. By
the time the march ended, they have lost a substantial number of comrades. Then they
are herded to box carts and packed like sardines and they vomit and collapse due to
the heat. Other than Auschwitz and Treblinka, Capas becomes the killing fields and the
Filipino goes through it. Hell is a cruel and furious invader, a human being. Today there
remains a remembrance to this suffering caused by man. From the ground up to the
sky, a bayonet monument rises among the dead. Tarlac becomes a place of soul for
the suffering of the Filipino is shown. He overcomes this cruelty with heart thou he was
ravaged and scarred here. Tarlac is sacred ground. The people are forever changed
for his precious blood is spilled there.

Tacloban, Leyte 2013

It begins with a quiet starry night. Then the winds become stronger in the dawn
then it becomes a scream like a jet plane taking off. The winds are the worst that has
ever hit land. The sea comes in like a Tsunami. The coconut trees that bend break like
toothpicks. Tacloban is engulfed in water and wind in no time at all. Thousands die
within minutes. They are literally blown away if not drowned at the same time. The
destruction is total. It‟s like a nuclear bomb hit the town. Everything is gone with the
furious wind. Hell comes by wind and water. It is a total disaster. The reporters in the
area could not believe what happened. They are awed by the devastation. They are
blown away by the ruin. Why oh why? What has the Filipino done to deserve such
suffering? Yolanda is the single worst typhoon to hit land EVER. And what does the
Filipino do? Within a week, they are rebuilding. They are done crying. It leads a
reporter to say that there is something about this people that is special. They are
resilient but not as the world knows it. They are resilient beyond human capability.
They are beyond heroic. They are the Filipino.

Is there anyone that will doubt our soul? Is there anyone that will contest our
warrior spirit, our ability to take punishment and yet live on? Suffering is us and we do
it every year. We are subjected to the whip, the winds of ruin, the angry earth, fire and

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brimstone and yet we are still here. We have been oppressed by cruel Moro Invaders,
by the Spanish and American Colonials and the Japanese who was over the top in
cruelty and yet we are still here.

Do you know how deep we are? How much we are capable of self sacrifice?
How we are so tender because we understand how it is to suffer? Our people are
beautiful. We suffer for our own and we take the undignifying humiliations of our
government‟s neglect and lack of compassion because we are used to it. We are so
patient for our own, it‟s beyond reason. We are slaves to the system and yet we are
forgiving. We make do even if we are thrown into the mud. We keep trying and trying
even when there is so little to pass around. We are heart breaking and yet we are
whole. Our islands are shattered and scattered and yet we remain one.

And I ask myself, why God why? Why do you suffer the Filipino so much? What
has he done to you that you would allow the worst atrocities be committed to him. Why
do you allow such deep hurt? Why did death so profoundly manifest itself in the three
tremulous tragedies? What did we do wrong? Why such deep lashes? And then I am
given a revelation. It is a preparation. You are made utterly broken hearted so you can
be noble. So you can teach the world how it is to be noble. You are made to feel the
earth‟s and human hand‟s wrath so you can have the grace and faith that moves
nations. So you can trust in God alone and connect to his power. As you are made
weak, you are made strong. You all have something in common. You repay hurt with
love. You embrace disaster with compassion. You forgive even when there is no
justification. Your women have become slaves so they can feed their families. Your
men have laid down their lives so they can give their nation hope. They have withstood
discrimination and demotion and repaid it with nurturing and compassion. You have
been marred so you can come out beautiful. For we are the people of God‟s steadfast
deep love. The land of the innocents massacred.

But just like Aslan in The Chronicles of Narnia, you cannot die for you are not
guilty of anything. Just like Jesus Christ, you keep rising from the dead for you have no

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fault. They have overcome the worst that human hands and the earth has thrown at
them. They are beyond Mt. Olympus reach in greatness of character for they have
embraced their ruthless land. The Greek Tragedy is redefined as a Filipino one.
Leonidas and the 300 bow before them. Odin‟s wrath and Thor‟s hammer cannot break
them. The great brave nations of the world are moved by their Gladiator sweet soul.
Their women are as tough as nails though they are as beautiful as the Universe. For
this people harness the earth‟s wrath and turn it to flowers. And if they can only see
who they are, they will know.. They are the Kayumanggi freedom fighters of the soul.
They are not Alipin. They are diamonds.

Behold their many brilliant sparkling facets, tested and burnished by the four
elements and man. Raise it up so everyone can see them. Behold the mighty and awe-
inspiring Filipino Soul !

The Best Is Yet To Come

By Pio Goco at Goco Ancestral House, Taal (February 7, 2016)

After many years of wandering and adjusting to new old surroundings, I finally
feel at home. Its been a long time coming. I wasn‟t even sure I really belonged. It was
tremendous and exciting at first when I went home for good in 2011 then it became
overwhelming. So much to take in and I was grasping for context. I broke down and
was out of it for a while. It was so stressful. I let go of so much that I thought mattered
only to find out they didn‟t. It took me a good two years just to get in the game again,
get healed and find my way. But now, it‟s different. I actually feel quite good about
myself and everything that is unfolding.

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I feel stronger than before and I feel that things are clicking. It wasn‟t what I
expected. I actually thought it would happen quicker as it did for me when I was in
America but nevertheless, I found comfort and healing from friends and family who
have loved me for so long. I found sanctuary and refuge in unexpected new
relationships I least expected to find healing and tenderness. The rough edges have
gradually been made smooth and their touch has healed me to aspire for noble things
again. And speaking of noble things, I rediscovered what was always there for me. I
found my Taal or I think it found me. At first I was just helping then I answered a calling
and now here I am doing fun things. Then I find I can make a living out of it too. There
is no better thing to do than to find a passion, a gift, a hobby and make others happy
doing it. There is a grace to it. It feels easy even when it‟s not. It all comes together
and all that was needed was my willing participation to engage in it.

I came to Taal and was moved to expand and fix my old house where my
Ancestors lived for so long. I discovered they were there too in spirit encouraging me
to make the house a place of comfort, sanctuary and hospitality. I listened to their
guidance and in the place of deep connectedness, I found peace and happiness. It
was therapeutic. It was quite ironic actually. I have wandered the world and gone
hundreds of thousands of miles. I have met so many good people in many cultures
near and far. I have settled in time zones so far away only to find my place under the
sun under my nose. Maybe I am a salmon that finds its home where it was born. All I
can say is, I just followed the undeniable loud whisper in my heart. It terrified me to do
it because it didn‟t seem logical at first and I was mostly logical by the time I answered
it. I felt so vulnerable, so out of my comfort zone, so scared.. It was beyond me at first.
I desperately wanted to go back to the familiar but I burnt that bridge. I was going to
have to go forward for better or worse. For a while I thought I made the biggest
mistake of my life. I was so desolate, depressed and despondent but now I have no
regrets. Restless I was for the longest time but restful I am now. I have broken through
and become creative again, perhaps I have even transformed to an artist, an
essayist/writer brimming with vivid, colorful ideas. It just keeps flowing.

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And now that I am here, I am determined to make something of this life in a
charming small town and help around. By doing what I am doing now, I can sense the
appreciation of a town needing a lift, a light of ideas, a new perspective so we can all
find a semblance of prosperity and happiness around here. The town by its relational
„dungawan‟ dynamics has certainly encouraged it. I am connecting to all manner of
people, rich and poor, broken and whole, proud, brave, real and humble. My house is
by the street corner and I can feel the vibe and it‟s alive. For the longest time, I have
been trying to find life and now that it‟s here, I can only say I am blessed. Not only am I
happy, I am able to give happiness to others as well and do some heavy lifting for the
wonderful people of this town and country. I am determined to pursue Win-Win
paradigms. Kung panalo ako, panalo rin ang mga sineserbisyo at minamahal ko.
Panalo ang bayan ko.

Perhaps the only thing missing is a Lady and perhaps a friendly Dog to keep me
company. Maybe I will meet her as I do what I do in Taal. Maybe I have already met
her. I am open to being pleasantly surprised by how this unfolds. But to be a sanctuary
to others, to love and be loved, I must find my happiness and sanctuary first. That
takes a measure of time and maturity. For I cannot give what I do not have. I cannot
give something of myself I do not possess within. And now that I have found my peace
and a measure of prosperity, I can bring a special someone in to love, adore, share, lift
up, restore and care for. A beautiful flower to complement and balance the masculine
setting. For I am San Martin de Tours. I am a man, a brave soldier, a warrior, a
philosopher-gentleman, a fierce protector and a humble servant. I have overcome and
will keep overcoming. It would be good to find my Lady of Caysasay, a nurturer of
souls, an equally passionate woman of noble, brave character, a lady of refuge, of
heart, kindness, tenderness, peace and generosity of spirit. A wood to my fire, a Yang
to my Yin, a woman to my man so we can warm the hearts of many.

I have travelled the world and here I am now. I am a little baliw like the Taalenos
are but none the worse for wear. Many have dreamt but not many saw the reality of it.

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Many have planted only to pass on before they harvested it. I have serendipitously
found my place under the sun. God, I am thankful for everything. The best is yet to
come.

Sigaw Nang Bayan, Happy 50th Anniversary Monsignor


Madlangbayan!

By Pio Goco at Goco Ancestral House, Taal (February 21, 2016)

In August of 2014, I wrote a paean to our Dear Renaissance Man and


Monsignor of Taal, Alfredo Madlangbayan. Yesterday, he celebrated his 50 years in
the Priesthood and I was there. And I am thankful, oh so thankful that we have a man
like him as the town‟s Evangelist. He has put a fire in our hearts and has been
instrumental in making the town wake up again. Monsignor Fred, you move me deeply.
We care again because you led us and cared first. You are a man of great creativity,
passion and vision. It is an honor to be your Kabayo. As you celebrate your 50 years of
service to the Madlangbayan, we in Taal honor you. We protect and cherish you. We
will lay down our lives for you. You are Taaleno. Saludo kami sa iyo! Here once again
is my tribute to the Man with the Plan.. Sigaw Nang Bayan, Madlangbayan! We Love
You!

As I continue to be a resident of Taal, there are a few characters that compel


me. Ernie Villavicencio is one of them. So is this man. Sigaw nang Bayan, Monsignor
Fred Madlangbayan.

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This man is a Rennaissance Man of Taal. Anything he touches turns to Gold. By
his creativity, spirit and will, he has almost single-handedly brought life and living in
Taal town. This man of the cloth is special. He is alive, passionate and vibrant like the
morning sun. I have seen Taal town when it is dead. Nothing much happens and
nothing is expected to happen. I have seen the Basilica echoing in emptiness. It's
inside was as old in design as the outside. It was drab, sleepy and lacking in creativity.
Only the dying and the dead came here. There were echoes of despair but no one
listened. No one cared until Madlangbayan came to town.

This man came and gave life to dry bones and dead stones. He orchestrated a plan
and initiated a process determined to see the Basilica alive again. He had a vision and
he was focused to make it happen. The goal.. to bring a new life of effervescent faith in
the hearts of the people of Taal. He raised funding by himself. He fixed the Bell Tower,
broken and torn asunder. He knew that if those bells toll and echoes to the people
below, they will know that the town is awake again. The spirit of the Saints are alive
again and if they live, the people will be infected and a fire grows and grows.. A
warmth in the hearth is felt and spiritual freedom comes to the people in droves.

From the relics of a deep pit, he made a koi pond, its waters flowing, crashing,
fresh and beckoning like the words of St. Paul and Jesus in the New Testament. His
inner sanctum has the air of possibility, of hope and new spirit. It is profound as it is
alive. Next he tackled the closed and already dead right wing annex. And oh my.. What
he did with it is glorious and beautiful. The level of respect for antiquities and design
protected. He built a museum to house the relics of the antiquities of old, to give them
honor, remembrance and new purpose. He took away the decades of dust building up
on the inside. He broke the cobwebs of the annex. You can say he took over and
annexed it. He made it the home of the living, not the dead. He made the right wing
annex a place of prayer, of meditation, of singing, of breaking bread and hearing the
people and their despairs and providing solutions to their cares. He is a man of power
because he takes initiative. He does not wait but for the Lord and he has crystal clear
orders. He runs to those that can help and seeks their support for he knows in any

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town, the beginning of revival starts with the church. It is not the walls of the church
that has value though it is important. The people are the church and it is to them that
he reaches out to. These walls have purpose when it becomes a place of worship. He
understands that the heart of the church, the people's hearts must be reborn one soul
at a time, one person at a time. Christ died not for pieces of rock but for the souls of
men and women and Fr. Madlangbayan understands that. And for that, he has fire. He
has purpose. He is emboldened by his moment as Monsignor, his time of action in
Taal to bring not only revival to the town but to also bring revival to the country.

Next he steps into the Holy of Holies. He brings new life and glory to the altar. In any
church, there is the altar. It is where the drama and narrative of the Life of Christ is
relived and retold in every Mass. The altar has power for in the altar, the blood of the
lamb is slain to forgive the sins of men and bring grace and mercy to the people. The
altar must live again for Christ is Alive! And so it is.

Then he did the great walls of the house of the faithful. He did it with a
commitment, passion and a sense of what's historically appropriate. Trompe l'oeil was
the design he chose and it soars. Oh how it soars. I have never seen the Basilica more
beautiful in my lifetime. The walls are alive with the sound of people, of music, of life,
creativity and living. There is a buzz that's gaining momentum. I feel it build up,
resound and clang like the bells of old. You can feel the steady beat. The electricity
rising. After a long long time, there is possibility. There is hope. The man is Great! He
has a passionate heart. He lives and he wants people to live! He is of the Lord and
there is grace and mercy in him. He is dynamic. A man of the people. A man of the
Masses. A Man of the Bayan. It's in the name.... Madlangbayan!

Then out of need of his Parish, he begins to shape the clay and bring purpose
to old rocks. There is not enough space in the right wing to minister to the needs of the
people. It is a growing church. The faithful are coming. He desires to fill the Basilica to
the rafters with people of faith. He desires that the biggest Basilica in South East Asia
will sing, bring hope and fervent faith to all mankind. He decides that the left wing must

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also have life. It cannot be an empty space forgotten by time. It must also join the
clarion call for revival and so he brings a plan to the faithful.. After over 100 moribund
years, there is a new plan for growth. He demands of himself, nay challenges himself
and the faithful to bear fruit and much fruit. In order that the fruit be properly cared for,
he needs a larger basket.

The Walls of the Basilica soar but there is need to give the faithful places in the
hearth where they can minister and be ministered. They need places of prayer and
healing. For as much as the Basilica is growing, there are new demands, new
concerns, new costs of doing something. He is willing to pay that price. He puts his
money where his mouth is. He demands a profit not only in men's souls but also a
profit in the till for he needs to pay the price of new growth, of new possibility. And it is
there. It comes. God provides for his people. He brings an abundant life and there is
no need too big that he cannot meet.. if you only have faith. And for that, there is
purposeful action.

But he didn't know that for as much as he is bold, the devil in the details lurks
seeking to steal, kill and destroy. The devil wishes to distort his purpose and make him
crawl. A challenge arises. A man in his element rakes him through the coals. He is
humiliated, accused, blasphemed, double-crossed. He is abandoned by those who
support him and his heart grieves for all he ever did was to bring a whole new life and
dynamism to this wretched town. From the high mountain top, he is cast down into the
deep valley below. He is hurt, confused, depressed, despondent.

He asks his supporters what happened? He is betrayed and deeply


disappointed but not for long.. He understands that those whose purposes are good
and noble, the evil one will rise to stop him. He must not ask of the people for their
sympathy or support, he must come to his God to give him strength for the battle is not
against flesh and blood. And he comes to Jesus... He then rises up like a Phoenix
because he understands that by Jesus stripes he is healed. Jesus says, "Come you all

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who are heavily laden and I will give you rest". He comes to Jesus in his
disillusionment, public debasement and humiliation and he becomes whole again.

And now he is different. There is a larger spirit and soul in the man. A Warrior
Priest is among us. He is gentle when he speaks but his eyes are like fire. His hair is
white but they glow as he meets the rising sun. His age leaves him and in its place, a
Young man cometh.. He walks in. He comes to celebrate Mass.. He says Mass, no he
sings Mass! You could hear his voice thunder though he whispers. He sits... He sings
and his voice is crystal clear. He closes his eyes and sways to the beat of the songs of
worship. He stands up and he joins in. His voice rises. It's as if he is preparing for War.
He is in a War. The Hymns rise in the hall and din. The Tagalog guitar music is
soaring, bold and yearning. The hymn makers aren't soft souls. When they sing, they
mean it. The sound of their music has authority. It has power to move the hearts of
men. Then there is a pulong pulong. The faithful speaks of thanksgiving, of prayers
answered and healing. Then Communion comes. I eat literal bread and drink literal
wine. It is essential to the story of Christ that he be as accurate and faithful as possible
with his instruments of sacrifice. So much detail and excellence for a simple Mass.
Then I see that for this man it's never that simple. For the Mass has power and the
spirit of the Lord is with us in it. He is raising that Spirit up so its power and essence
can flow abundantly to the people so they may rise up in liberty and live in victory. The
voices of the faithful rise. They sing and play music with purpose and passion. They
dance, they hold hands, they raise up their hands. It is spirited. It combines many
elements of power to life. The drums have a steady beat of determination. The
Monsignor speaks of love and forgiveness, of mercy and grace but he understands, he
is in a war for souls. He has the body and blood of Christ. It is a totally unique
experience. I have never ever been to a Mass like that. It's like I'm in a Jewish
Synagogue.

The devil lurks in the deep dark corners of the Basilica waiting to pounce on him
like a lion. But he comes to the Lion's Den, stands firm and raises his hand. Peace, be
still he says. There is an order, a demand! I rebuke you in Jesus name! Leave! Go

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now! This is now the town of the living! I will defend it with my life and my faith.
Madlangbayan speaks further. I am a man of the people. I want them to know Christ so
they can be free! Liberty to the Masses! Liberty to the Bayan! Madlang Bayan!

And to those that come against him, let them be forewarned. They must fear the
cross for it has power. It comes from history.. from old. It is living, not dead. It is potent.
Not in the mold of tradition.. But in the life of a man who gave his life so others may
live. For God so loved the world... that he gave his life... and in three days he rose
again. He overcame Death and the Cross and banished the evil one to the River Styx
and Sheol. He is the Rock of Ages. To those who think they are in the right when they
are wrong. How can you win when the angels of the Lord are with him? You cannot.
You will be banished and humiliated by history if you continue. You will look like a fool
and it will stick to you. You will be ground to dust, rend asunder. Stop the madness and
come to Jesus! The walls of the Basilica are not to be praised. It is a limited thing. Yes
it has value but not at the price and at the expense of the people, of the bayan. One
precious soul does not equate to the value of those walls. For the souls of men are
timeless and last forever whereas rocks have a certain lifetime. It falls to ruin in time
like the Greek Parthenon of old. There is no comparison.. It is not even remotely close.
But the devil wishes to distort. He is calling his minions to action. Taal must be
enslaved! If Taal rises up to freedom, awakes from its deep slumber and leads, the
whole country will rise and like the Lord of the Rings, its fixation on obsolete and
broken traditions, of egotistic greed and corruption will be banished. Darth Evil is in
Taal and Fr. Madlangbayan knows it. The call of greatness in his lifetime is here. He
must seize his moment for he is God's instrument of action on the town and when a
Priest of the almighty God becomes a warrior, let those who go against him have fear.
The sword of truth can kill. San Martin De Tours has been awakened. He rides his
horse, galloping to protect, marshal and liberate his town. He protects his Monsignor,
his priest.

And so for Taal and for the people, Monsignor Madlangbayan rises. He smiles
and he waves. He has so much grace. Rarely have I met a man with such mission and

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purpose. Rarely have I seen such fire. Everything he touches lives after him. Creation
and creativity is with him. He moves with dynamism. He doesn't tire. I hear the man is
coming to his retirement in 2016 but retire he must not for Taal desperately needs him.
He is a Leader. A Man of Vision and Action. He is Ignatius of Loyola. A Soldier for
Christ. I pray he doesn't leave Taal til he banishes the ghosts of old, of the bankruptcy
of dead ideas, of worship of stones. I pray he brings liberty to Taal, that he makes the
Basilica, the shining and living Basilica upon the hill, singing loudly, its voice soaring
towards the heavens, ALIVE! I pray for the people of Taal to support and speak loudly
to defend their Minister of Life. I pray they protect him and keep him.

Power to the People by Faith! Freedom and Liberty of Souls! A Rebirth and
Renaissance in Taal! Power to the people by the truth of the Holy Spirit!. Power to the
Masses and the Bayan. Mabuhay ang Taal, ang Pilipinas at ang Taong Bayan!! Sigaw
ng Bayan.. Mabuhay si Monsignor Fred Madlangbayan!!!

The Land of Peklat

By Pio Goco at Goco Ancestral House (February 15, 2016)

Have you ever loved someone so much that it deeply hurts? Have you tried to
reach out and been denied. Have you ever trusted so deeply only to be betrayed in the
end? To those that have experienced life, lost love and heartbreak is one of the most
visceral experiences one could ever have. For having your heart break is like having a
deep laceration within. It‟s like a sword stabbing. It takes time to heal. It takes time to
be whole once again.

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For however reasons we come to this place of wounding, we know it because
before we sleep and at the moment we wake up in the morning, we feel it. In the quiet
of the night, the heart and wound bleeds deeply. A pain radiates from within. Character
is formed in times like this. A bleeding heart makes us feel that we are alive. The
opposite of it is numbness and when we don‟t feel anything, we are dead within. And
the dead cannot possibly feel the hurt that they give to others. They can only give more
hurt until they themselves realize what they have done and cry within themselves once
again to release it. Then they can feel and live again.

When you miss someone, it hurts. How can you stop it. You stop it only when
you try not to think of them. You simply just cannot not think of them so you need to
get busy living so you drown the idea, the image, the pondering. You try to move your
hurt to another direction and think positively and productively. It‟s a struggle. There
really is no formula. That‟s perhaps why wise people say that only time heals all
wounds.

When I was young, I met an accident in my Grandmother‟s wake at Loyola. I


went through a glass sliding door when I was playing with my cousins and I cut my lip
and leg deeply as I tumbled over. My father heard the loud crash. He ran to me to lift
me from the shattered shards. I was embarrassed for causing a commotion but I felt
something cold coming from my mouth and then I saw blood. I felt weak after. I was
now in shock. Next thing I remember, my Dad was holding me as I bled profusely. He
rushed downstairs and carried me into a vehicle. He was dressed in a long sleeved
shirt and tie. I remember very well my Dad using his tie to stop my bleeding. He spoke
so tender, so loving. He cradled me close to him. Next thing I remember I was in the
operating table. The light was bright. The doctor was taking out the shards of glass
from my lip and my leg. I felt the glass pulled out of my wounds and then I felt numb. I
fell asleep soon after.

The next morning, I woke up in a hospital bed and I finally felt the searing pain
my wounds created. My face and leg was wrapped in bandage. I was swollen. I think I

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was in the hospital for observation for a week. I remember a steady stream of visitors. I
remember so many get-well gifts. I remember chocolates. I remember my siblings,
cousins and my loved ones nearby smiling. Perhaps everybody felt a sense of relief
that I was alright because my older brother Ditto already died in a tragic drowning just
a few years before. It would be so heartbreaking if another one of my Dad‟s sons died
and at the funeral wake of his beloved mother Elisa at that. I don‟t think my Dad could
have lived through that again. It would have completely broken him and my Mom.
Three strikes through my Dad‟s heart and it would have killed him. And so I lived. I
overcame. The wounds eventually healed over and now just the „peklat‟ remains.

As I look at the peklat, I can still remember the throbbing pain. I can still see the
stitches. If someone special that I care for saw it, she would perhaps ask how that
came about and I will remember again what happened and narrate this story again.
Even when I was quite young when it happened, I still remember it vividly as if it
happened yesterday. I was having fun playing hide and seek. I was running and then
Kablam....!

And then I harken to my land.. I am here in Taal. Something happened here just
over 250 years ago. For 200 days, the land was subjected to the worst possible torture
a land could take. It was vicious, cruel and catastrophic. A huge volcanic explosion
happened and it laid the entire land to waste. A deep gash happened. It was
everywhere. The heart of the country was broken, bleeding and laid bare. The river
artery to the heart of the country was pummeled and blocked in the attack. It staggered
deeply. It could not breathe. The entire caldera area of Taal and the regions further
away was torn and ripped asunder. The inland sea waters were boiling. The earth was
shaking. The sky was trembling and falling. Control Alt Delete. The land was erased
and marred completely. The cumulative life and history of this region was buried under.
It was beyond horrible and brutal. If Batangas province was a person, it was deeply
deeply hurt. A sharp bolo just massacred its innocent heart. All it wanted was to work
hard, belong, try to be prosperous and love their own and then it was left completely

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broken. A force majeure cataclysm beyond their control renders them wasted and they
are left with tragic losses and made numb. Life as they knew it then was over.

The heart of the country is bleeding. It is in shock. The entire country if you look
at it from a map looks like a person that is slouching from a chair with Palawan as its
arms bracing it. Perhaps it‟s not slouching. Perhaps it‟s trying to stay upright. Perhaps
a great and strong wind like Yolanda‟s was trying to topple it over. Perhaps that fire
arrow hit it straight to the heart and its staggering as it bled. And perhaps as a country,
we are still hurt because the suffering happened not too long ago. A huge gash straight
to the heart of the collective soul of the country happened and it takes time to heal that
completely. And we are here now over 250 years after, terribly wounded but still
standing.

I always wondered why this land near the volcano had so much grace. Why is it
so enchanting and heart-achingly beautiful. Why does this land harbor such mystical
character even when all you see is the green forests and the seas near the crater?
Then I realized it has been under a lot of hurt. When your body and heart hurts and it
overcomes, it is transforming into something great. You can feel character and
charisma emanating. There is a different presence, glow and vibe. You can feel them.
It is moving. You can cut the air around them with a knife. When we identify with
Jesus‟s painful suffering on the cross despite his innocence, this is how this
Batangueno land is. It is the land of the innocent heart that hurts and bleds profusely
and has overcome. From the air now it is not as obvious but if you look closely, you
can see the peklat. You can see the old banks of the great river but now it‟s no longer
there. The artery is now clogged and its waters struggle to get to the sea. The new
growth belies a deep gash underneath. The entire land was deeply affected. And yet
from the very deep hurt, the broken river found the sea. The torn land healed but it
remembers.

Fast forward today. At times we don‟t feel it when we drive around here. But
when I stand to see the lake and sky and the vistas around it, I can sense it. I can feel

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it. My intuition cannot deny it. There is so much immense grace that I am overwhelmed
by its power. This land should not have come back. It should have been left for Dead.
It should have been the land of Mordor forever more but its hope and its faith simply
cannot be denied. In the land of deep deep hurt, there is the grace to overcome. A
miracle in the land happens. Life comes back again… And so as I plug into this land,
this Kingdom of Peklat, I remember those that have been hurt. I remember those who
are suffering, those who are bitter and broken, those who are in anguish and
disillusionment. I remember the despondent, the desperate, the drug addict, the
depressed and the derelict. Find your hope here. Find your healing here for in the land
of Peklat, you can find beauty awash in the depths of despair. I can now see it
everywhere. I am blown away everyday watching it. It is the land of deep soul. It is the
place where broken people go to be healed and restored.

Many years have passed since we nurtured our wounds. Many years have
passed since we slept when we were broken in. Now that our hearts are alive again,
we want to celebrate. From the deepest hurts come the greatest joys. From the
deepest despair come the most passionate celebrations. From the deepest suffering
comes the most abundant grace to overcome. We in this land are the places of the
heart, of deep mystery and soul. I am just here my Dear. Though I seem far, I am quite
near. I am just a whisper from you away. When the time comes and I see you again, I
will welcome you with open arms. I will hold and embrace you deep within. I will weep
and be thankful that you are alive and well. I will rejoice that you are free again. And
then I will bind your wounds. I will heal your soul. I will make you whole again so you
can be noble. If this land that was so deeply hurt can heal, then nothing is impossible
and your heart and your spirit will be well. Love in all its power will see to it that it is
done.
Welcome to the land of Heaven‟s Earth. Welcome to the Land of Peklat and Character.
Ala Eh, Welcome to Taal.

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SECTION III
MILLENIALS. HEAR WHAT IL TELL YOU!

Advice For the Fragile Young . . .

By Pio Goco at the Goco Ancestral House, Taal (March 17, 2016)

I am being asked by teens for advice. I say to them: You are so fortunate
because you are in the age of information, where access to information is at your
fingertips. And perhaps with all this info comes a flood of it. Water, water, everywhere
and not a drop to drink. You are over-stimulated. Your senses are noise barraged.
There is little story line, just the climax. It is lights, sounds, beats, hooks, technology,
music. It is nearly all- access seductive witchcraft. It‟s entertainment and escape and it
is actually quite awesome. You can get caught up in it. You can see the ocean but you
can't process it because you are a fragile being in the vast waters. You can sink in it.
You can drown. It is best to ask the right questions.

Think of yourself as someone in a boat. You need to fortify and build a bigger
boat to protect yourself from the elements, from the ocean of information. You cannot
possibly drink it all so you need to prevent from being fragile. You need to develop
context to the narratives. You simply cannot spread yourself too thin. You need to be
sound so you can navigate the waters. And that is the problem. Not every sound bite is
worthwhile listening to. Not every picture is worth looking. Not every post is worth
reading. Prevent yourself from being caught up in the Instant shallow fame. Image is
not everything. Youth is wasted on the young? In your attempt to cover all bases, you

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become vulnerable. One prodding poke and you may crumble. You need to get some
depth and not eat too much bubble gum or drink pop cola or music. Don‟t be so virtual.
Seek balance and be real. You need to know the games people play for you can
become a commodity in the whole equation. A thin crust pizza dough. Merely top soil.

There is something to be said about narratives. You get to understand the


essence of things. You get to meet substance. A picture does tell a story. Get to the
bottom of it. Find something to hold on in this ocean of information. It is important for
your well being. For every fluff and cotton candy you consume, imbibe of the timeless
classics. Read the epic stories. Anchor yourself to the timeless truths. Read Sleeping
Beauty and listen to Miley but also listen to Rachmaninoff and read Dosteovsky.

I love the Beatles not for their songs alone but also because they conveyed a
narrative to each of their songs. They told a story of their creative process so we too
can be part of it. It's not so much just images and tunes but also human experience.
They wanted to connect. They wanted to include us in the process. I loved Casey
Kasem of Top 40's fame because he told the stories behind the songs we loved to
listen to. He drew us in to the humanity of those that sang for us. I loved long playing
classical albums because albums were literally that. They told picture book stories of
the songs within them. I loved reading them. They are before your time. Your
challenge is to ask who, what, where, when, why and simply not accept things as is.
Life is not superficial but they are trying to peg you there. Refuse to be pegged in
there. Refuse to be shallow. Be sublime. Capture essence and depth. Be rooted in
good ground. Read, read and read. Reflect and breathe. It takes time.

Trivia and information is one thing but the ability to capture and comprehend
makes you rise up to the occasion. Wisdom before your time. Understanding when it's
not your prime. The ability to see the trees from the forests and immerse yourself in
both perspectives. It is a challenge to be awashed in so much. You tend to have an
illusion that it‟s all easy when its not. You still have to work for what you got. You can
get awfully disappointed. You can lose what is important. Therefore focus. There is

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meaning. There is purpose. Again, ask the right questions and you will find answers to
life's lessons. Don‟t be afraid to investigate. Follow the lessons of Goldilocks and
connect the dots. Build foundations so you can't go wrong because before long you will
be tested. Life will try to blow you away. You will be challenged. You will be pushed.
You will meet the abyss if not your dark knight and night of the soul. I pray you are not
fragile. I pray you won't break apart in angst and be lost. I pray you have something to
anchor on that is fundamental to your well being and soul. For it will be a tragedy to
have it all and feel like you have nothing. So chose well what you allow yourself to be
aware of. Information is power.. You have the power. You have so many choices. A
vast cornucopia of it. But depth of character is more.

Above all, the truth is there for the taking. It shouts in the marketplace of ideas.
It speaks of liberation, awareness, understanding, comprehension and wisdom. Anchor
yourself in it and you will always see the North Star in the Ocean of information. It will
guide you home.

This splendored Thing called Love … and Marriage too!


What‟s Love Got To Do With It?

By Pio Goco at the Goco Ancestral House, Taal (February 17, 2016)

With Valentine's day done, lets get over the haze of the romance of the day and
go over the notion of 'Love & Marriage' and what makes relationships stick. I am a
Divorcee. I was married for almost 10 years. I loved my ex-wife but it didn't work out. I
want to learn the lessons why so I don't have to repeat this ever again because the
experience is painful. Let me tell you the reasons why perhaps marriages don‟t work
out.

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Have you ever seen the movie 'Gone Girl'? It‟s an excellent reference on the
'trappings' of a marriage and a relationship in a convoluted and depraved narrative but
it actually works. It accommodates the worst of the nature of the man and wife but at
the same time affirms them. They are meant for each other in a sick manner. Check
mate! Then we have 'Love is a Many Splendored Thing' where Warren Beatty and
Natalie Wood once entranced us with their beautiful romance and 'Love Story' where
the statement 'Love means never having to say you're sorry' was said. Sigh.. such
romantic Hollywood cliches but unfortunately pure hooey and baloney. You can say
the same for nearly all of the Pinoy romance movies we have here lately.

Hollywood and Pinoy popular media has conditioned us that 'Love' is the
singular reason why we should marry but upon further investigation, it is actually not
even that critical or absolutely essential as to why we should go ahead with it. Yes it
would be great to love the person you marry but you can always develop that as you
go along in the relationship. What makes a lasting marriage does not require „love‟ so
much as the practical aspects of how to „show that love‟ beforehand. Nosebleed? Let
me explain further.

The dowry system of India is a classic example of a 'Gone Girl' dynamic that
makes marriage so effective. In the dowry system, the woman's family gives a
significant dowry to the husband's family. If there is a break up, that dowry given to the
man is returned to the woman. It may seem disadvantageous to the woman but in
practice, it proves they are equals and it actually binds the families together because in
return for the dowry, the husband must reciprocate and give his full faith and devotion
to the wife. There is a serious cost to the marriage from the get go and this cost sort of
'traps' them in the relationship. They have to make it work and compel love to develop
because the option of de-coupling or divorce is much worse than going forward. The
result, a very high rate of successful marriages.

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The feeling of Love for as much as its deep and emotional at first quite frankly
runs hot and cold over time. One should not base a life long commitment on „feelings‟
because it is practically impossible to sustain it. But the economic considerations that
keep that bond together makes that bond most likely last forever. Today, there is a
50% rate of divorce in America. Same percentage perhaps in the Philippines although
we don't do 'Divorce' rather we do this absurd thing called 'Annulment'. So why are
people divorcing or in our case annuling? Because fundamentally they gave too much
„trust‟ on the 'good intentions' of the person they love and their powerful „feelings‟ for
them rather than the practical aspects of providing and caring for that person and the
procreation that family brings. They got overwhelmed with the powerful feelings of their
„romantic love‟ and they find out later they weren't thinking. That's why they 'fall' in
love. Get it? Yes by all means, fall in love if you wish but make sure you have a safety
net.

We can fall in love but can we take care of the children when the wife is
pregnant? Does love really overcome all things? If I was interviewing my daughter's
future fiance, what's the first question I will ask him? I will try to find out if he has a
successful career track because I want to know if this man that my daughter loves can
„AFFORD‟ to take care of her. One of the single largest causes of divorce and stress in
marriage is not unfaithfulness but lack of financial resources and support. That is the
poison to a wonderful relationship built on mutual trust. Financial stress erodes the
sexual desire for your better half and before long, the relationship is cold. Then you
add children.. If you can't provide for them, they are simply 'Gone Girl' and you become
a „Loser‟. By making it clear from the get go that they are entering into marriage with
clear motivations in mind, they can save themselves from the grief of painful
decoupling.

So why get married to begin with? Get ready for this.. There are three basic
reasons. They are: Procreation, economic advancement and economic protection.
What!! No Love??? Well there is mutual attraction, chemistry or the murmurs of love
which can be developed over time as well as sexual compatibility. A man enters into a

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long term marriage relationship fully aware of his responsibility to take care of his
family. And that must be proven up front via monies, success and perhaps real assets.
Why do you suppose Mr. Christian Grey of the '50 Shades' was so popular and women
were swooning all over him even if he was depraved and broken? That‟s what you call
'Mommy Porn' because women love a good provider and add the fact that he was
single, young and handsome, he is an Ace and a definite keeper. They can fix him
later. That has always been the way it was but Hollywood tried to make it that Love is
the „primary consideration‟ and everything else follows after.. Wrong!
If you hear it from a sincere man that he wants to marry your daughter because „He
Loves Her‟, be wary and be doubtful because tao lang siya. Despite his determination,
he will encounter difficulties and if he is not ready, that relationship will fail. So to insure
this does not happen, you must verify that the man ALREADY has the assets,
resources, solid career, the family background and reputation NOW so that the future
wife does not worry for her children and her beauty gets trampled over. And it's really a
practical consideration because after all a marriage and a family costs money and
that's why the state protects it by imposing less taxes on them.

It almost seems like you are „buying into‟ marriage.. Hmmm well actually you
are but don't let that distract you. The economic considerations of why a woman enters
into a marriage actually provides the environment for deep love to flourish. That's why
„arranged marriages‟ between well- to-do families worked very well in the past and they
still do now. When many good people are involved in the decisions of a couple, the
chances of it failing is less likely to happen. That's why you have Godmothers and
Godfathers. They are supposed to watch your back, provide serious wise advice and
perhaps some funds instead of just merely prancing and dancing in your wedding and
all the glad tidings. This is also perhaps why it's frowned upon to marry a man that just
got out of College or someone who is all promise, fun, charm and potential. The
challenges of marriage are way too much pressure and eventually this charming man
will hit a wall and oh well...then there goes the awesome sex, bonding and fun.

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Hindsight is 20/20 but foresight is too. If you are serious in loving a woman, you
must absolutely provide for her. Romance and being wooed is nice for a woman but
think twice before you lose yourself or fall in love with a man. Ultimately the best
aphrodisiac for a woman is money, a house, assets or wealth brought about by a
stable or successful career. It shows good, consistent character. It shows good
judgment. Why do you suppose Businessmen and Land Owners, Doctors, Lawyers
and Career Professionals get all the attention? They show stability and settlement.
They show perseverance and wisdom. Women desire them because they know they
will live comfortably because it sucks to be stressed and poor with limited options.
Heck even a man that looks like Chiquito can have the woman he desires for as long
as he's got what it takes to make a woman happy. And if you are handsome,
charismatic, connected and loaded pa? Naku, Champion!

Single women who have children know it too well. They learn their hard lessons
quickly. They don't dream or bullshit anymore. Either you have it or you don't and if you
don't, don't waste their time. But if you do, anything is possible. They can be open to
falling in love with you and maybe even have wild fun but only if you can pay the
mortgage, the car loan and the kids education. And when you do, it‟s heaven in the
home and the playground bed. She will even cook for you even if she doesn‟t know
how to. She will do her best to please you. A happy woman is a woman that is
provided for. When she is provided for, she knows she is cared for and she is loved.
That‟s how a man puts his money where his mouth is. And it is attractive, sexy and
powerful to a woman. It takes their guard down and then you have her.

A young desirable woman who is aware, brave and wise makes the right
choices and strategic decisions. Beauty and sexiness is fleeting but if she is good, she
will leverage her God given gifts and her character to the hilt to get the Alpha man she
wants. If she hits the jackpot, she can be much more beautiful longer in her prime. She
then feels more desirable as well and can give her entire secret garden to her man.
She feels like a woman. She commits to that relationship for life because if there is
excellent provision and quality of life, deep love develops and beautiful bonds are

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created. They then have happy children and who doesn‟t want that? You can basically
say that if you the man are a good provider and you provide the environment for
female creativity, productivity and comfort, you get more handsome over time and you
get commensurate mind blowing whoopie as well.

Of course there are always issues that concern a couple like tampo tampo here
and there but that really is peripheral compared to the fact that you need to „bring it‟
always. Yes one has to „work‟ at giving value to the relationship like reading her mind
but more so be reliable, be trustworthy and dependable. When you say it, do it.
Women feel secure when you do so and they love to feel secure because it makes
them want to „connect‟ with you more. Furthermore, all the differences between Men
being from Mars and Women being from Venus are tapered over when there is always
food on the table, a great many options afforded by an expense account and a
vacation on occasion. You make a woman happy by giving to her and giving some
more. What‟s love got to do with it? Prove it every single day.. Give her the devotion.
And when you do, she will be happy because she feels the love. She will then love and
make you happy and she will help you willingly in your passion and your goals.

My Mom and Dad were married for 53 years. They knew what they were getting
into. It was a reciprocal arrangement of mutual and practical benefit as much as it was
love and devotion. My Dad had a promising law career. My Mother had prestige and a
name. They traded each other‟s gifting to get to the top of the food chain and we the
children have favor because of them. It was beautiful to watch because even the hard
times were reasons to make the relationship stronger. Less fluff, more reality. They
enjoyed each other‟s company even if my Mom erupted like Taal Volcano ever so
often. He still embraced her and rode her like a surfer on top of a huge wave so he can
achieve the highest of highs in his career as much as my mother felt safe, protected,
provided for and secure. She also reached her career heights as well. They were
blessed and didn‟t want for anything. Nangarap sila sa langit at tumama sila sa ulap. It
was a marriage made in heaven because it accommodated their human nature on

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earth. They had a fine balance that over time achieved a graceful art form. Now that‟s
Love!

As for Love, Hollywood style, you can shove it. Mr. Christian Grey, you da man Dude!
Love the helicopter ride! Just make sure you are not volatile and you are careful. Make
sure you don't go bankrupt because if you do, there goes all the swooning ladies in the
neighborhood. Love is a many splendored thing? Yeah right! Gone Girl Gone!

Of Cell Phones and Partylines

By Pio Goco at Goco Ancestral House, Taal (February 5, 2014)

Teenagers and kids sometimes ask me how we communicated back then


without cell phones. How did we ever manage without it? I say well back then, during
the landline days of not too long ago, your word was your bond. If you plan to meet
someplace at a specific time, well that's it! You go where you agreed to go and if the
person you are meeting is late by an hour or so, that means the meeting is cancelled.
We used to meet people in familiar places and restaurants etc., which landline
numbers we knew so we can call in case problems arise. We memorized around 30 or
so phone numbers by heart. We knew the landline numbers of our house, Mom and
Dad's office, our close school mates, our "barkada" or gang in the neighborhood, close
relatives and the girls we liked to "telebabad" with. When the phone rang, we always
said "Hello?" because we didn't know who was calling on the phone. Then they say
their name and then u hear this peculiar response. "For a while..", For a while what??
It's kinda endearing really. You also do what u can to avoid having a "party line" which
is a "shared" line with a neighbor from hell. Believe me, it is never a party when u have

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a party line. In the first place, u don't know who your party line is and u don't want to
know because chances are u end up hating them or worse killing them. A usual
conversation with your party line goes somewhat like this... "Hello Partyline... Pakibaba
naman nang telepono please? Tatawag lang kami". And then if the party line doesn't
cooperate within 10 minutes, it escalates and then it goes like this... "Hello PartyLine..
Please naman po. Kailangan ko yung telepono. Importante lang po. Tawag lang po
nang taxi. Salamat po!". Then if nothing happens 10 minutes after that, this is what u
finally hear... "PartyLine!! PUNYETA Naman!! Ano ba!! Ibaba mo ang telepono o
MAKAKAPATAY AKO nang TAO!!!!". Yep party lines were really fun! Not! Anyway..
We also had Easycall or Pocketbell beepers in the 90's so we can be notified of any
scheduling changes. Having a beeper was way better than the landline with a partyline
and a sister that just won't quit talking on the phone for hours if not days.

Now some concerns. The problem was if u went to the province. Back then
everything was local. nMaking a call within Manila was free but farther distances were
tedious and expensive. You might as well have gone to Argentina. If u had an
emergency and needed to convey a short message, a simple text was not gonna
happen. U had to either write a letter, put it in an envelope, add a stamp and mail it
and it arrived in 2 to 3 days. U can also send it by RCPI Telegram (which was
expensive). It looked like a ticker tape with holes punched through and sent via courier
and delivered to your house within 24 hours. It was fast but the problem was you can't
read much less understand the message because its in freakin shorthand. Or.. u made
a paid per minute long distance call at the "palengke" PLDT office which kinda
sucked.. no it really sucked! Imagine talking to your girlfriend long distance and you
have a mint full of quarters in your pocket because you constantly had to put money in
the fat red phone that looks like a perverse piggy bank with a slit for a slot, not to
mention the fact that the long distance operator keeps interrupting your sweet nothing
lovie dovie conversation and "DEMANDS" that you put in more coins or she will cut off
your call, and on top of that, this line of people that goes half way around the block
constantly keeps looking at you in a very perturbed and annoyed manner wanting to
cut your head off and feed it to the askals as they wait for you to finish your damned

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phone call. You inevitably end up spending a fortune in quarters and u couldn't even
say “I love you” or “miss you” to your girlfriend for fear the entire neighborhood would
know what you were up to. Now imagine if you were the one waiting in line and you felt
like taking a pee. You might as well develop kidney stones cuz man if you get out of
the line to take a leak, you're not only pissed, you're also screwed. There goes your
entire day! U felt so far away when u were in the province cuz no one could reach u
asap. It was great if u wanted to be incognito but it was awful if there was an
emergency. U were basically in a rock and a hard place but at least u had "BAD"
options.

But back when we were in puberty, I still remember we went to Uni-Mart


Greenhills on Sundays and on occasion, we would "get lost" from our parents. When
that happens, we would simply go back to our "base" which is the eating area of the
shopping center and our parents would pick us up there. There was also a paging
system where you would hear a gentle, dreamy voice boom over the entire mall. If you
were lost, you would hear your name called there. "Paging Mompe Goco, Paging
Mompe Goco, your "MOMMY" is looking for you..." It was kinda embarrassing to hear
your name boom all over the mall. It would traumatize you so much, u would never
ever want to get lost again. If your siblings or friends hear it, u will never hear the end
of it. "Alaskado ka todo" from your home, to the car, to the basketball court, and up to
the Ateneo! It's the same when u need to call yur driver.. "Paging Driver Erning, Driver
Erning, Please come to the gate.." It wasn't always as convenient and simple as it is
now.. Now, you never get lost and if you did, it‟s panic time. Lagot ka sa Nanay mo and
that would be it! Back then, we didn't panic when we were lost, we simply made do.
We used our inner GPS/compass and common sense to find our family and it usually
worked out too....

So there you have it. Kids these days have it good and easy.. but back then, we
had waaaay waaaaay more fun... unless we had a partyline.

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SECTION IV
I AM A GOCO AND A PRIMICIAS, TOO

This Box of High Honor

By Pio Goco at the Goco Ancestral House, Taal (May 21, no year)

According to the wisdom of Gump, 'Life is like a box of chocolates, you never
know what you are going to get‟. But what if the box has a Presidential Seal on it? Well
that means it's something really special. And in Ye Old House, Mother Marietta
Primicias Goco's 'Order of the Golden Heart' award makes its presence felt.

It was accorded to her by President FVR when she finished the work of defining
and establishing the Philippine Anti-Poverty Commission (NAPC) which is now headed
by Sec. Liza Maza. Even until today the Ten Minimum Basic Needs Mandate of the
Commission stands as a bedrock principle for all Filipinos. This is her legacy work
which 20 years later, she is known for.

Mom Marietta visits Taal every first Saturday of the month to attend morning
mass at the Lady of Caysasay Church where she is a devotee. After which she heads
to the old house for lunch. If I have tour guests, she regales them with her essential
legacy stories of what once was. She talks about the days of wine and roses, the birds
and the bees and her time with the Giants. She shares the stories behind the stories
that are not in history books. She speaks the wisdom of her time and gives generous
guidance and advice to guests. She is already passing it down via oral tradition..

Thank you Mom for this box of high honor. Ala eh, we remember.

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My Dad, The SolGen

By Pio Goco at Goco Ancestral House, Taal (June 2, no year)

Sol Gen Jose Calida, your answer does not satisfy those who would like to
believe in your integrity. When you still hold majority interest in a security company that
does direct business with government entities, there is still 'potential' conflict of
interest. What you should do is 'divest' of that interest completely or put that interest in
a 'blind trust' so you cannot possibly be accused of using your influence should a case
arise that the public interest conflicts with your private interest.

For the sake of your reputation as the lawyer of the nation, there should not be
any blurring of those edges so that you can see with all objectivity what is the public
interest. And if you so chose not to divest of those shares, then your company must
'strongly inhibit' itself from engaging in business with the government so that you can
avoid the 'presumption' of using your influence in these matters. Unfortunately you
missed your opportunity to make a strong case by answering the question in an
oblique manner.

My Father Raul I. Goco was SolGen once upon a time. He understood his
position, duties and his responsibilities. He would never even get close to potential
conflicts of interest that would compromise his integrity. There was an incident once
when a truckload of high quality canned corned beef pulled up our driveway. It was a
gift from one of his 'potential' affiants that had a 'potential' case vs the government.
There was not even a full blown case yet and still my Dad saw thru it. He saw the
potential ramifications later on because he understood his limitations. He is SolGen but
he is also human. His sterling judgement can be clouded given the opportunity to
accept such a grandiose gift. And so he declined it. There are many other challenges
to his integrity but he protected it fiercely hence he did his duty to the best of his ability.

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He still remains one of the best and fondly remembered SolGens that ever graced that
office.

And perhaps this is his message to you. Stay far away from potential conflicts of
interest for the people's trust is in you. Your head and heart must not have any doubt
who it is they serve. The people must also not have a shadow of a doubt about who
you do serve. And if you feel that it cannot be done, then the best thing to do is resign.
Our government deserves better representations from their honorable Solicitor
General.

My Grandpa Sen. Cipriano Purugganan Primicias

By Pio Goco at the Goco Ancestral House (June 23, 2018)

In my writings of heritage stories in Taal, I have featured the stories of my Goco


side of the family... But there is this still small voice that haunts me. He is here in Taal
as well because I have restored his classic circa 1950s brown sofa and lounge chairs
which rests in the TV room behind the main stair case. That is where I do most of my
writings when I am in town. He is actually the father of my Mom Marietta. Lately his
vintage pics along with my Grandma Nieves have been popping up for no reason
except to perhaps remind me to also share to my readers my other Lolo's story. It's
none other than my Grandpa Sen. Cipriano Purugganan Primicias whose roots are
from Vigan, Ilocos Sur and Lingayen, Pangasinan. In the still of the night here in Taal,
he whispers to me and says quietly.... 'Apo, Paano naman ako?' Ok Lolo P... Sorry to
keep you waiting... Here we go...

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My Lolo Senator 'Pianong' Primicias born in Alcala, Pangasinan in September
14, 1901 was a giant of Philippine politics during the Golden years of Philippine
Democracy after WW2. Married to the former Miss Pangasinan Nieves Ocampo Benito
from Santa Barbara, they both raised 9 children. For as much as he was perceived as
an educated elite of Spanish-Catalonian Ancestry, he came from humbler means, put
himself thru law school, had his own law practice and was a self-made man before he
entered national politics.

It was a two party system back then. Liberal and Nacionalista party. My Lolo
was a member of the 1st Philippine Congress in 1934 and thrice elected as
Congressman representing the 4th District of Pangasinan up to 1950 (except during
WW2). In the Senate (1951-1963) he was Majority and Minority Floor Leader and
lifelong member of the Nacionalista Party. He was called the 'Great Thinker' and
'Parliamentarian Par Excellance' for his excellent debating and reasoning skills among
his peers in the Senate. He was also a wise counsel having been principal adviser to
Pres. Carlos P Garcia and Pres. Ramon Magsaysay in their respective administrations.

Among his bills that became law that still exist today are:

RA 1569: An Act to declare Fort Santiago a National Shrine and provide for the
preservation of historical monuments in Intramuros
RA 1267: An Act creating the Court of Agrarian Relations aka the progenitor of the
Land Reform Act to give land to the farmers
RA 2084: An Act to promote rice and corn production
RA 2023: An Act to provide for the organization and regulation of Cooperative
associations
RA 3514: An Act establishing the Philippine Tobacco Administration
RA 1379: An Act declaring forfeited in favor of the State any property found to have
been unlawfully acquired by any public officer or employee and providing for the
proceedings thereof
RA 1161: An Act to establish the Social Security System or SSS.

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As Congressman, he was also for the movement of a more independent
Philippine Republic having allied himself with Pro-Filipino Senators Claro M Recto,
Jose P Laurel, Ramon Diokno (Father of Pepe), Alejo Mabanag (his mentor), Jose
Vera and the 9 Congressmen who were against American Neo-Colonialist moves of
the Liberal Party after WW2. Chiefly he fought against Parity Rights, US Military
Bases, 1951 Mutual Defense Treaty and the Bell Trade Act which he felt infringed on
Philippine sovereignty. Because of their resistance to these moves, they were kicked
out of Congress via the sinister post-war work of Gen Douglas MacArthur, US Navy
High Commander Julius Edelstein and US High Commissioner Paul McNutt who later
on established PhilAmlife Insurance. They were reinstated later by the Supreme Court
but not before those neo-colonist measures passed by one measly vote.

These and other stories are in his book celebrating his 100th birth year in 2001.
I have taken the liberty to post the article written by prominent but now retired
PDInquirer columnist Uncle Larry Henares who wrote about the Primicias-Maramba
60-year feud (now settled) which led to the love story of my grandparents. Historical
vignettes of my Lolo's battles with American intrusion to our political affairs including
the Harry Stonehill drama are also noted.

I never met my Lolo. He died September 20, 1965 at age 64. Almost a year later
on September 3, I was born. How I wish he lived longer and I had known him. How I
wish I have been immersed in his historic oral narratives and looked into his person.
How I wish I imbibed him early on. Everything I know of him now is passed down by
my Mom Marietta Primicias-Goco and my Uncles and Aunts Ed Primicias, Carlos
Primicias, Nieves Füngerlings, Perla DelaHoz et al. During my teens, my Dad Raul I.
Goco and my Lola Nieves when they were both still alive would share stories about
him. My Dad was in awe of his intelligent and passionate plenary debates on issues of
national importance against Sen. Ambrosio Padilla and Sen. Rogelio Dela Rosa with
Sen. Gil Puyat and Sen. Amang Rodriguez in tow. These compelling experiences led
him to become a Lawyer. My Lola Nieves shared her story of then Senate President

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Ferdinand Marcos saving her life when she fell seriously ill when Lolo was a Senior
Senator. My Uncle Gov. Tito Primicias narrates that story here as well.

For as much as I have never met my Grandpa, his legacy I try to revisit and
learn from. His traditions of honesty and integrity my parents also practiced. They
served their country well in their time. Lolo was also once called 'Batangan' aka
Palaban na Fighting Cock. And in my time, as he loved his country, so shall I love
mine.

He pursed a vision of a Philippines that was not beholden to any foreign power,
that looked after their independent national interests. During his watch, he was a
lifelong Reformist and Patriot. We are Allies in ideals, principles and philosophy. The
fruit does not fall far from the tree. The Great Son of Pangasinan's blood and spirit is
within us his Grandchildren and also in me. To those that see a Philippines that looks
after their Nation's best interests, we are his legacy. Glory, glory... ALA EH!

Truth Hurts Then Heals

By Pio Goco at the Goco Ancestral House (February 3, 2016)

My Mom is an exemplary woman. I didn‟t appreciate her as much when I was


younger but now I do more than ever. My Mom has sound judgment and a tongue that
pierced through all the bullshit. She wasn‟t Dean of Discipline of Assumption College
for nothing. She says what she means and means what she says. On occasion when
we were younger she would discipline our rebellious ways.

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My Mom did not suffer fools gladly and believe me, when we acted like fools, we
would get it. First would be that look that melted iron, then the eyebrows go up, then
the hair would go up like Medusa then the tongue lashing. Hell hath no fury than a
woman scorned. When we did wrong she knew exactly what to say to break us down.
She really had a gift for bulls-eye gab… I think her tongue was a sword as much as it
was an instrument for tasting.

After the punishment was over, we resented it kasi na hurt ang feelings namin
but gradually we actually felt better. We at most times think that when truth is spoken,
it hurts. But the reality is, the lies hurt. They are daggers in your back and heart. The
truth no matter how hurtful is actually taking those daggers out and when the daggers
are out, you feel so much better thereafter. My Mom knew how to dispense with truth
with surgical precision.

A great man once said, the truth shall set you free. Indeed how true. But when
this man said it many were offended. Perhaps they mistook him as pushing daggers
into their hearts when the reality was, he was taking them out. And perhaps when
there are too many lies piercing your heart, it seems they are all the same and we
react with pain of all sorts. Well try to get stabbed. It hurts going in. It hurts going out
too but it takes wisdom to know the difference.

There are so many people in this country that are deeply hurt. They don‟t know
the difference between a person who is stabbing them or a person who is taking out
the knife from their back. They end up saying „Don‟t touch me!‟ and they live with the
stabs for the rest of their lives. They become numb and enjoy the pain instead because
that is so familiar to them. When you smell garbage everyday, you don‟t smell it
anymore. But the body still takes the poison and soon enough your body will break
down and as soon as life started, its over. You are done. And that is so sad because
there are so many of them that are so broken.

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My Mom has taught me to appreciate straight-forward advice. As a matter of
fact, look for those people who actually give it to you. They will save your life and make
you free. I once had a Boss that gave it to me. If he didn‟t like my work, he would say it
but he also dispensed with excellent practical advice. I took it because I knew he
wanted me to succeed. Then there are people screaming pieces of advice. It‟s not
because they are angry at you, rather it‟s because you are too close to the abyss and
you need to listen NOW! Much like Holden Caulfield in Catcher in the Rye, they don‟t
want the people they love fall off the cliff. So when they scream, they really mean,
WATCH OUT! Falling in is much easier than getting out and life is too short to keep
getting out of holes. That‟s why they call temptation a slippery slope and you should be
watchful because your life may be an endless getting up from under and then it‟s over.

But believe me, the people that scream advice are not usually appreciated
because people tend to react to them rather than hear them. Well they don‟t always
have to scream really. You can dispense advice but only if they are not in danger. To
those that have been living a lie, the truth really hurts. It takes time to live a lie. It takes
time to get out from a lie. Sometimes, they are in too deep that taking the knife out
hurts even more than dealing with the knife in. But for them to live a life of quality and
clarity, it is necessary that surgery be done. Because whatever was gained in a lie
ends up being wasted anyway. And then you are left with nothing and that is a tragedy.

I used to run away from surgery. I hated facing my lies. But I guess the spirit in
the sky loved me so much to run after me to corner me so he can take that monkey off
my back. I got used to that monkey for a long time. I kinda was alright living with it but
love knew better than for me to live with my shame. He took the knife of truth and
sliced it out of my back so I can live upright and see clearly once again. I was in
traction for a while so my body can heal but as I got better, I felt much stronger and
thought clearer than ever before. And now I am a sucker for people who speak truth in
my life. I even dare them to say it. I want them to be honest with me because I want to
be better. If you love me, let me have it. Para kang nakasandal sa pader.

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But it‟s not always the same for everyone. They love their big and little lies.
They become comfortable with it and justify it. They are offended when you point it out.
You hurt their feelings. They keep praying and praying but when the answer is finally
there, they say humph.. Ayoko makinig dahil nasaktan ako. Oh well .. if you love your
hurts better than your truths, kawawa ka naman talaga. Common sense is not so
common, so cmon, have some sense naman! I‟ll pray for you na lang.

Again, the Truth shall set you free… don‟t be afraid to speak the truth because it
may save a life from hurt, despair or death. If you find yourself surrounded by brown
nosers and sycophants, those are not your friends. „Yes People‟ want to please your
ego and seduce you because they want something from you. And once they get it, you
will feel used and abused. And once you are used to the abuse, there goes your sound
judgment and then the feeling of being lost because you are lost. Surround yourself
with people who speak truth to you even if it hurts because they truly care for you.
They will save you from a thousand and one deaths and prevent you from becoming a
living dead Zombie with no heart and soul. But we all know life is not perfect. We
simply do not have the privilege of sound advice surrounding us. That person could be
a voice in the wilderness or the desert reaching out saying WATCH OUT! You are in
danger! And when you hear that voice .. listen .. oh please listen. It‟s not worth the
heartache, the trauma and the psychological damage to be in chains of pain. A
masochist may think it is pleasurable but when you wake up the next morning, you will
feel absolutely numb much like Christian Grey of „Fifty Shades of Grey‟ and we know
how that story ended. Like a moth to a flame can you feel my desire. Take that poison
cup away! I deserve better!

As for me, I have had enough of heartache and being numb. I am listening. I
want my heart to beat again. It hurts to listen to truth but I understand for me to heal, I
need to get the daggers out. Oh God, May I never forget to keep asking help to get the
daggers out. For I suffer for those I care for. My heart grieves for them. I feel so
powerless witnessing their heartbreak, wretchedness and kapit sa patalim decisions.
But I cannot help them if I am also in the same pain. What a drain. Wala akong

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magawa. So I need to get right with God. I want power in my prayer. I want the earth to
move to save and redeem those I love. And I realize, when I humble myself and God
can take the daggers out and heal my heart, then I can see clearly and stand in
integrity. Then perhaps as integrity is made strong and firm, God can make whole my
basket so there are no holes where grace flows when I pray. Then when my basket is
full of grace, I can throw this basket of prayer to those I care for. Then by some
mysterious power, something wonderful happens and the people I care for get clarity
and are made free. Then they run to the sanctuary and find refuge. And then I can help
take the daggers out of them and take part in their healing, in making them whole
instead of sharing in their suffering.

For truth sayers are freedom fighters. They break the chains. They take out
daggers. They heal the hurts. They bring forth new life. I welcome them. I love them. I
thank them for loving me so much to not fear me and speak to me honestly. Speak
your truth bravely and I will listen. And you will be glad you have them in your life. They
want you to live a better quality of life. They want to lift you up. They are the salt of the
earth. And when there is healing, we can then all be like children once again and enjoy
eating plentiful pudding..

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Passing The Torch
(The “Mi Ultimo Adios” of my Dad, Raul)

By Pio Goco at the Goco Ancestral House, Taal (February 13, 2016)

Many vignettes flood back on the last time my Dad Raul I. Goco visited Taal. It
was mid-July 2014. He had one more month to live. Vicious Typhoon Glenda just tore
through Batangas a week before. All the roads leading to Taal were in terrible shape
because huge trees fell everywhere. Taal town was dark. We had no lights for over a
week. It just so happened the Lamonero's were going to town the weekend after that
storm for a Taal luncheon. We didn't want to postpone it anymore. The show must go
on. I invited my Dad to come prior to the storm. After the storm I asked him not to
come anymore because of the roadside dangers. But he insisted he was coming. He
even repeatedly invited my siblings Gina and Robby to attend. They both came. Gina
said later that she knew it was important that she be there because Dad insisted and
he rarely insists on anything.

At any rate, we had an awesome party. It was so much fun and lively. The
Lamonero's came and painted the town and house red. Annabel Agoncillo played
Cinderella and sang 'Ako Ay Pilipino'. I gamely sang 'Taaleno State of Mind', a revision
of a Billy Joel Classic even if I was paos. It was such a memorable experience. Ernie
Villavicencio even let us borrow a generator so we can have electricity for the time we
had our luncheon. So many good things happened even if the remnants of a typhoon
disaster was everywhere. And perhaps its fitting that he came to visit at that time.
Because disasters for as much as it defined Taal, the Taaleno's overcame them and
this was just another day at the office for my old man. Even in the twilight of his life,
you cannot keep a good man down even if that was a storm as vicious as the Glenda
typhoon.

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And now that I think of it, my Dad knew. The circumstances of that day totally fit the
narrative he wanted to convey. He knew he didn't have much time and that day was
the day he was going to pass the baton and say goodbye to Taal Town, the town he
loved and defined his character. When he visited his Goco Ancestral House for the last
time, he went around the house. He visited every nook and cranny and looked around
everywhere. I found it peculiar. Perhaps he was saying goodbye to the house and
giving thanks and honor to his Katipunero Lolo Juan, his Tres Maria's grand Aunts and
his parents Eliseo and Elisa for the legacy they imparted on him. After he was done..
he came to me and gently said.. 'Son, the house has never looked better.' And then he
sat down amongst my foodie friends and had a most awesome and gregarious time. At
the tail end of the program, I was getting so thrilled that I went to him and kissed him
on top of his head while he sat on his wheel chair.. I never did that before. He smiled,
we held hands a bit and soon after he left.

My Dad had such a wonderful heart. He never expressed himself in the ways I
express myself now. And perhaps as he passed the baton to me and my siblings, he
also passed his spirit. He passed all the wonderful things he did and that we should
continue the beautiful traditions of the Goco's.. The traditions of kindness, tenderness,
love, forgiveness, bravery, integrity and honesty. He empowered me. He wants me to
keep writing and pouring myself out there for he lives within me. He is with me. And it's
so poignant. It is not as obvious at first how these things happen but the symbolic
moment of the 'passing of the torch' though simple becomes more powerful as we
remember it.

After that, my Dad's assistant Monique would relay that he kept talking about
that Lamonero party for another two weeks, saying how much he had fun. Two weeks
after that he passed away. This was his 'Mi Ultimo Adios' sa Taal. The curtain call
bookend visit to a fruitful life in the service of town, country and family. The picture
below is one of the last pictures taken of my Dad in Taal. Monique is on the right and a
lady singer who heard he was in town and a big fan of Dad is on the left. The two
ladies are also a fitting bookend to a life in the center well lived.

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(please buy the Volume 2 of this ebook to see pictures and read some MORE
additional Essays of Pio Goco)

As I finish this piece he whispers to me... 'My son Emmanuel Pio.. great love
comes from great pain and suffering. You were not brought to terrible anguish and
difficulty so you can be bitter and broken but rather rise above and be compassionate
and noble. So you can take your seat among your fellow Taaleno's worthy of their
respect and honor. For that is our story of legend when we battled Taal Volcano for
200 days and overcame. In the wellspring water of unprecedented great pain and
suffering comes unprecedented great grace and power. The physical manifestation of
that epic and historic event is still there. It stands. Bring them to the Arch. Bring the
people to the place where I prayed when I married your fiery and termagant mother
who personifies Bulkan Taal itself and more so love and be faithful to her forever
more.. And you are here. You are in Taal for a reason. So our great Filipino people
cannot forget who they are deep within their soul. For we are a nation of gentle
warriors, with a fierce fire in a heart of diamonds. I am with you. Continue on. Ala Eh!‟

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The HeartBreak And Redemption
of Cipriano „Tito‟ Primicias Jr.

By Pio Goco at Goco Ancestral House (March 4, 2016)

Tonight let me talk about a man who saved my life … by dying. I pay tribute
over three years late to my great Uncle, the brother of my mother Marietta, the late
great Governor of Pangasinan, Cipriano „Tito‟ Primicias Jr.

It was early December 2012. My Uncle Tito just passed away. I was in the midst
of my deepest depression and despair. I just could not write anymore about sadness
because I was having too much of it at that time. I could not even write a meaningful
tribute so I passed. I went to Pangasinan along with my siblings to honor my late great
Uncle and I didn‟t say barely a whimper. I stared at his coffin. I was a blank. I was
quiet.. Too quiet and when I spoke, I spoke of being trapped, of being in such deep
anguish, I was talking gibberish. My cousins saw me and my fearful countenance
registered and they worried for me. I was beyond scared and terrified and there I was
with my late great dead Uncle.

Uncle Tito was a great man whose promise was dashed on the rocks. He was
to inherit the mantle of my Grandfather the late Senator Cipriano Primicias Sr. Senior
was the Senate‟s „Great Thinker‟ during the Golden Years of Philippine Democracy. He
was the Senate Majority Leader from the Nacionalista party. His mind had no equal
and everyone in the Senate bowed to his brilliance in law, debate, speech and bearing.
He presided over many Senate committees. He was a two term Senator and after his
second senate term, he got sick of Cancer and died in 1965 at barely 64 years old. He
was too young to die.. His grand-children barely even knew him. I didn‟t because I was
born a year after. After he passed away, the only thing we knew about him was in
history books, pictures and stories of what people said about him. When I encounter
one of his followers or peers, they are amazed I am his grandson because they saw

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him as a legend of renown. They remember him as a great Statesman. Way above
par. My Dad Raul was in awe of him and so were many others like Sec. Alberto
Romulo and even President Marcos. I am quite fortunate to have descended from him.
His name is written on the base of the grand Philippine Flag Pole in Luneta fronting
Rizal‟s Monument as one of the members of the first Free Philippine Congress. I salute
him for he is one of my own. I am of his blood and he lives on in me.

My Uncle Tito, his first born son was his legacy of public service in the next
generation. And he started with a bang. After he finished his law degree, if memory
serves me right he became a two term member of Congress. But he achieved
greatness as a pre-eminent Governor of Pangasinan. He was the one who established
the „Pistay Dayat‟ Summer festival on Lingayen Beach every May 1. He built many
roads, bridges and schools. He created the Pangasinan sweet yellow mango industry
and he dealt with everyone fairly. He was a natural politician. People loved him. He
was charming, dynamic, effusive and engaging. He grew to such stature that he
became President of the Governors League. He was clearly meant for the big leagues
for he had big ideas. Ferdinand Marcos was the President then. It was before Martial
Law. Marcos was finalizing his Senatorial List and he went to my Uncle to draft him as
one of his Candidates. My Uncle hesitated because he so loved his job as Governor
but Marcos gave him an offer he could not refuse. If he ran for the Senate and won,
then all will be good. If he lost, he will get the DILG Cabinet Position. So Uncle Tito had
nothing to lose. So he went for it.

Then the Plaza Miranda bombing happened. Among those injured were Jovito
Salonga, Gerry Roxas and many other Senatorial Candidates. The Senate elections
happened. There was a backlash and Marcos‟s Senate ticket all lost. My Uncle
relinquished his Governor‟s office to run for the Senate so he was out of the job he
loved. He then approached Marcos for the DILG position which was promised to him
but Marcos reneged upon the advice of Imelda because at this time Marcos did not
feel at ease with his power so he appointed people who were loyal to him rather than

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competent. Another Marcos Loyalist was appointed DILG Chief and my Uncle was out.
He was heart broken, resentful, betrayed.

He then packed his bags and went to Canada to live there. He didn‟t have much
money because he was an honest politician. He said he was not above being
pragmatic and do dirty tricks but because of the legacy of his father, he just could not
steal so he didn‟t enrich himself while he was Governor. In Toronto, Canada he started
over along with his wife Cora and his family of 8. He became a successful insurance
salesman. He was invited to become part of the opposition but for some reason he just
couldn‟t deal with it too much because of the hurt of being cast out in politics and all of
a sudden being in the desert. Then Martial Law happened. He was stuck in limbo. For
19 years, he was out on the desert waiting for his opportunity to pounce and get back
in the game without Marcos in power. But Marcos held power too long. Time was
ticking. He was losing his prime years. And finally he caved. Marcos reaches out to
him and offers him an Undersecretary of the DILG Position in the latter years of the
Marcos Presidency and he readily accepts. All he wanted to do was serve the people
and get back in the game and finally he had an opportunity and then the EDSA
Revolution happens in 1986 and he was out for good, tainted permanently by the
Marcos association. He was heartbroken yet again. It was too much. He was already
past his prime. He was done.

He went back to Canada a broken man. He carried on. He lived on his pension.
He was able to remarry so that his olden days would not be lonely but his second wife
suffered a stroke so she also could not care for him because she became disabled.
And finally he said he could no longer take it. He went home for good because he just
wanted to die in his land. I saw him a few months before he passed away. He was
alone in his Mother Nieves house in New Manila. He was in his underwear eating
lunch. He was drunk at noon time. He just wanted to drown in liquor and die. It was
heartbreaking.

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And then I heard him pass on. I went to his wake but I could not go to his funeral
because I was also deeply depressed and heartbroken. But in the evening of his wake
when I was there along with my relatives, something happened. My siblings discovered
my condition and I was able to get emergency treatment soon after. Ironically his death
caused my resurrection because without his passing, I would have lingered in my
depression and when prolonged, I would have perhaps taken another deep turn for the
worst. My Uncle died so I can be saved. Even in the final indignity of his death, he was
trying to lift up one of his own and I came through because he passed on.

And true enough as a former Governor of Pangasinan , he was given tribute.


His coffin lay in state at the Governor‟s Palace in Lingayen, Pangasinan and he was
given a 21 gun salute. He had honor guards guarding his coffin day and night. Many
politicians and dignitaries went to his wake. His coffin had the Philippine Flag wrapped
on it. There were burial ceremonies. Color guards. Marines. There were flags waving.
He was honored as one of Pangasinan‟s great sons. A fitting end to a man who was
great, who only wanted to serve but was prevented from doing so because he was so
honest and so good. His body rests in the rolling hills of Santa Barbara, Pangasinan,
near the sweet mango orchards he left behind…. in a place of his own choosing. He is
buried alone.

I want to give myself a minute to honor him………………

Uncle Tito.. I know.. Oh God I know. I can feel your pain and heartbreak over
two years since you passed on. You just wanted what was best for your country. You
just wanted to serve in honesty and integrity but you were denied. You were
manipulated and dashed against the rocks. You were ground to dust by people who
didn‟t have your interest of loving the people and country in mind. You could have
been so great. You had such boundless enthusiasm. Your smile was a million bucks.
You had stature and gifting. You were a man of the people. You should have gone far
but you were just too honest and too good. And you were sacrificed on the altar and
became expedient. You were outwitted and cast down. And then you were forgotten.

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And the final humiliation. Even your cherished house in Santa Barbara where you
gathered all your allies during the good times and not so good, where you had your
best memories, the house which held all your memorabilia was burned to the ground..
Oh God.. Could you not punish this man more? Even his memories you burnt to the
ground?

But wait a minute. Unless a seed falls to the ground and even burnt to take
away the impurities, it cannot bear fruit… And he joins the likes of Doy Laurel, Raul
Roco, Marcelo Fernan, Conrado Balweg, Evelio Javier, Bernabe Buscayno, Lean
Alejandro et al and all the other heroes of Democracy who fought for what was good in
politics, our true Patriots who suffered, died, was humiliated for doing what was right.
They had the courage to lead and take the path to righteousness only to have their
hopes and dreams be blown away in the wind. Some were murdered outright. Others
were murdered, like a frog slowly boiling in water. My Uncle was that frog that was
boiled and before long, he also died heartbroken, poisoned, marginalized, a sad victim
of Marcos‟s prolonged and unjustified dictatorship, trusting that which could not be
trusted, marginalized even when he had so much promise, betrayed in his prime.

And I thank you Uncle Tito for saving my life. I thank you for lifting me up. I
thank you for dying so I may live. I thank you for your sacrifice. I thank you for all the
thankless things and indignities that you had to suffer through. I thank you for all your
sacrifices and all your compounded headaches and heartaches. I thank you for your
blanket of protection. I thank you for upholding the legacy of our Great Lolo Pianong.
You were an egg broken but the yoke nourished the ground and a seed arises out of it.
A tree is breaking through the rocks. It is resilient. It cannot be denied. It must be
tasted. It is sweet like the yellow mango that is your legacy. It is the sweet taste of
freedom and liberation from the forces of corruption and evil. It will bear much fruit in
season and you will live again for you are noble. You are the first born son. You are
the yellow mango sun.. You are the nobleman of Pangasinan.

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So carry on Lawyer, Public Servant, Obedient Soldier. Hear Hear Good Man, Cipriano
„Tito‟ Primicias. Primus Inter Pares. The first fruit of the land. We salute you! Balbaleg
si Kato! Hallelujah… He lives and he is reborn again! He is in us his descendants, his
friends and his land. Remember him! Remember him… Remember him…. Remember
him… Redeem him! His body rests in peace but his spirit groans and roams the land
and before long….. Ala Eh!

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SECTION V
O COME ALL YE FAITHFUL SPIRITUS SANCTI

Blue Flame On! Sanctification . . .

By Pio Goco at the Goco Ancestral House, Taal (March 2, 2016)

Sanctification is the process of purification. It is taking away anything that


hinders so you can have power for living. I am in a process of sanctification. I am
taking away everything that hinders the body to perform to its utmost capability, that
which limits the spirit so all my prayers are answered. For so long, I have been living
on dirty fuel. I have a raging fire deep within but there is also smoke there. My flame is
yellow, sometimes red but I want it blue for blue is the color of purity. The blue flame is
the hottest and purest of fires and it can only happen when we derive our fuel from
clean sources.

Clean fuel is obtained in a pure lifestyle. By clearing out everything that


prevents us from maximizing our potential, by making the sacrifice to clean up our
lives, by living in discipline and kneeling, we enable our spirits to rise to our time and
occasion. Sanctification is essentially saying yes to God‟s calling. He is on the door
knocking.. by opening the door, welcoming Him and permitting Him to work inside of
you, by enabling Him to empower you, by not preventing Him to move inside of you,
He can use you as an instrument of His peace, for His powerful purpose to raise up, to

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bring freedom and liberation, to lift the burdens, to break the shackles, be the light that
shines on the darkness and be the medium of the flow of grace..

We all have an internal combustion engine. And in that engine there is power.
Sanctification is like changing our oil and getting a tune up so we can then maximize
our internal engine‟s combustion power so we can run the race set before us. It is
feeding on the best high octane gas ideal for your engine. When all our cylinders are
running smoothly and there is no gunk, we can move mightily because there is this
efficient power. It can focus. It is compelling. It runs clean. You can feel the torque
responding. You can feel the horse power firing. The prayers can be delivered
because there is nothing that prevents it from happening.

I have many prayers for my country and for the dear people I care for and love. I
don‟t want to prevent those prayers from happening. I have a calling in Taal to tell the
stories of Legend, to empower the people to connect to their narrative. I can be an
Evangelist of Filipino Nationalism. It is a heavy responsibility. I can feel the heaviness.
I can feel my heart radiate as I tell the stories. I can feel the awesome power emanate
from within going outwards. I can also feel the dirt within. I can feel the impurity of the
daily choices I have allowed myself to do. I can feel the power combined with the thud.
I can feel the friction. I can feel my fire burning and yet I know I can even do better
than what I am doing now. I can make my fire burn blue, focus like a laser and cut to
the heart to liberate the chains and heal.

I have an extra gear I have only glimpsed and yet to enter fully. It‟s my turbo
power booster button. The High octane for my Lamborghini engine. If I sanctify myself,
I can get into that sanctum zone and I am on blue fire... Flame on! I then press on the
gas and the tremendous power and response is there! It is an amazing feeling to feel
your engine within roar like that. It is amazing to feel the fire burning, to understand
and know what I am capable of. Ever more so when I can focus that fire to do mighty
things. I desire to move this people and nation, to touch and shake it. I am already
doing it. I love my country and I am determined to see it free from the shackles of

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poverty. For that to happen, I am sanctifying the body so it can run on the spirit and
energy that comes from above. Feed on the word, not on the world. Everything falls in
thereafter..

Yes means No to many things that corrupt the heart. Yes means No to
compromises and to vices.. Yes means eating that which nourishes and staying away
from sins of the flesh. Yes means walking the talk always. Yes means connecting to
the power source. Yes means worshiping the man on the cross victorious. Yes means
meditation and prayer daily. Yes means making a willful choice. Yes means we finally
concede and allow ourselves to be the instruments of God‟s power on earth. Yes
means we want to be fueled by His truth. He wants to use me. I can feel Him daily. His
power oozes out of my skin even when I am in sin.. I can feel the electricity. I can feel
my heart radiate deep within. I want to cooperate in this great adventure. I want my
body to be consecrated to such a calling. I don‟t want to hinder anymore that which He
wants me to do in my life. Sanctify yourself. Sanctify. Make your simple mind complex.
Get right. Ready your heart for battle. Make Him break through you. Take away the
barriers of your heart. Purify your body. Be the fire that warms the hearts of many. Be
empowered and be sanctified for God wants to use you greatly to show signs and
wonders in the land and move mountains.

The stories of Legend were revealed to you because He wants you to be a


legend too. Is that not what they called you back then? As you are empowered by the
telling of these narrative stories, He wants you to rise to the occasion. He wants you to
fully step in. He wants you to ride the energy and the wave above. Embrace the
volcano and be propelled by it. Life‟s great adventure is on. Your time of preparation is
over. The samurai bolo has been burnished in the heat. It is double bladed. It is heavy
set and immense. It is ready for battle. Consecrate yourself. Live in righteousness in
everything that you do for I will use you. There is power. Awesome unprecedented
power and you can tap in it..

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And it is in truth, suffering for it and the amazing grace that carries it where that power
emanates from. Man keeps looking for it in all the wrong places but the power to live
and overcome has always been deep within the hearts of men and women. That is
where he has chosen to reside. It is his inner sanctum, the tabernacle of the soul
where God presence is. You were willing to move in faith though you were broken. You
have sacrificed everything so you can hear my voice and follow my command. You
were willing to get lost so you can be found. You were willing to leave it up to me. You
didn‟t understand but you still made the decision to say „Basta Ikaw Lord..‟ Lead me..
There is power there. Power that moves the hearts of men and women, power that
moves mountains, silences volcanoes and heals the land and hearts of men. It wants
to appear in you. It is already bubbling deep within you, firing, moving, crescendoing,
crashing, building. You feel its power in your heart wanting to burst outward. Sanctify
yourself now and henceforth to release its power and have your noble prayers
answered. It is your destiny to get this far..

And I say… here I am. Let‟s make this happen! Blue Flame on! Sanctification!

God Is Not What You Imagine Him To Be

By Pio Goco at the Goco Ancestral House, Taal (June 14, 2018)

This is hilarious if it were not quite serious. There was a reason Jesus was born
over 2000 years ago when Leica cameras were not yet invented. So that His image
would not be the emphasis but His character and spirit. You see, we all get carried
away with the white, bearded, good looking, Instagrammable Jesus. We would like to
pray to someone who looks as perfectly guapo and holy as Him. But if you saw the real
Jesus, you would be disappointed.

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For one thing, he was born in a barn and put in a manger. A manger is where animals
eat their supper. That barn would probably stink of animal poo as well. Jesus was a
carpenter. That is a hardy job meant for laborers who stay out in the Middle Eastern
sun too long. That means he is dark. Jesus was a Palestinian Jew. Have you seen a
Palestinian Jew of long ago? They have olive skin, curly dark hair, short height, stocky
build and far from pointy nose. Remember that scene in the garden of Gethsemane
when the Romans were going to arrest him? They could not differentiate him from his
ruddy apostles. He just wasn't glowing. Judas had to kiss him so the Roman
centurions could identify him.

It has never ever been about image with Jesus. All that you see about Him as
white and looking like a brown haired Brad Pitt? He actually looks closer to Puerto
Rican Character actor Luis Guzman of 'Traffic' fame. Is that sacrilege?? No... Actually
do your research. In the depths of His passion, when He was being crucified.. His
image was marred. He was brutalized. He just wasn't a pretty boy Avenger. And what
you see below. This is actually more accurate..

(pictures available on the Second “more complete” Edition of this book)

Jesus is like a Rastafarian Bob Marley. The scene is funny but there you have it.
Hollywood and the Catholic Church would be disappointed if they actually saw His real
image. So perish the thought and worship Him in spirit.

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If God Walked The Earth, What Would He Look Like?

By Pio Goco at the Goco Ancestral House (January 21, 2016)

As I marvel at the majesty of Taal‟s Heritage sites, I come upon the Taal
Basilica which is the largest Catholic Church in all of Asia. When you step in to see it
today, it has never looked better. Some may disagree but beauty is in the eye of the
beholder and for the most part, the restoration that has happened there is a step in the
right direction for today‟s Taal Basilica reflects the glory, majesty and grandeur of Old
Taal town by the lake which was destroyed in 1754.

I have attended Masses in the current Basilica presided by our dear Monsignor
Alfredo Madlangbayan. That last name can never be misconstrued as foreign for his
last name is so Tagalog-Batangueno. He also presides over his Masses in the deep
Tagalog language common in these parts since after all, the Taga-Ilog language
originated and prospered not far from the Basilica on the banks of the nearby Pansipit
River as early as the 11th Century. On the second Sunday of the month, the
Monsignor presides over a late afternoon Mass called the „NeoCatechumenal Mass‟
whereby the entire Mass is sung opera style in the Tagalog language with the
Monsignor singing as lead Tenor. It is beautiful as it is poignant. There is no disputing
Taal or Batangas for that matter as the seat of the Tagalog culture and from here it
emanates outward into the land and the heart of the people. But there is something
rather peculiar about all of this. Once you get into the heart of the Basilica‟s front and
you look up, there are four giant images of saints that loom over the flock. They are
Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, the Fab 4 saints who wrote the four New Testament
gospels.

They gloriously look down on all the faithful as they knell and pray but what is
odd is in the seat of the Tagalog culture, the saints up in the grand ceiling look much
like an older version of another Fab 4 namely John, Paul, George and Ringgo, aka

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„The Beatles‟. Hmmm... Curiouser and curiouser….No disrespect to Taal Basilica or
our dear Monsignor, for these fair haired AngloSaxon-looking saints are common
across nearly all Filipino Catholic Churches. Perhaps that is how the saints actually
look but on second thought perhaps it‟s an interpretation of how they look? To me it‟s
not even relevant how they look but apparently to the Filipino, appearances and
imagery are important so they can hold on to something tangible in a land that can
blow them away especially during the monsoon season. I have heard that historically
Filipinos have always welcomed foreigners. Why do you suppose the Catholic faith
here propagated so quickly? Same with the Moors, we welcomed most of them so
easily. Perhaps they spoke to our heart and we accepted their philosophy and just like
that, our favor opens wide so they can claim our souls wholesale. Perhaps the
foreigners also co-opted tangible things like elemental imagery to convince us that
their faith, their philosophy is more powerful than others. Maybe we were just hungry
for some good old meat and potatoes gospel truth. For one thing, the story of Christ is
quite convincing and it holds not only water but all the essential things that the soul
needs to be whole. I do know deep within myself that He is the rock and upon His
virtues, truth stands. There is no air in between. If you are anchored firmly in the
integrity of this rock, nothing will blow you away. If an army comes to try to move you,
they will be smashed like glass into million pieces because Jesus‟s teaching lies in the
Universal truth of God as the Giver of life. His truth expressed in love will never get old.
He is the North Star and He always brings us back home.. But that‟s another story.

When there is virtue, what does it matter about look or color? Perhaps the
reason Jesus did his acts when digital cameras were not yet around was because His
image was far less important than His virtues. His image can be manipulated and
reinterpreted to suit different agendas but His virtues and truth will not. He rises as the
brilliant morning sun and sets in utter glory in the sunset and comes back up again as
His truth protects us in the night. When you see Jesus‟s virtues, His seemingly tisoy-
guapo and well-tended hippy beardy image looks are really not that important or is it?

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Let‟s go to Jose Rizal. We know exactly how he looks like and stands. We can never
distort his image with human interpretation except perhaps to make him as tall as a
three-story building which actually stands in Calamba, Laguna where he is from. Rizal
is as kayumanggi as most of us and very Filipino in his appearance. Perhaps the only
reference to his foreign influence if you look at his image is him wearing a winter
overcoat which looks quite odd in Luneta, Manila. I imagine if his presence is there
now standing over us, he would be quite uncomfortable in his overcoat at high noon
since we are a tropical country. But definitely, just like Ambeth R. Ocampo has written,
he is one of us. He is our Filipino National Hero through and through. You cannot
possibly distort his image even if you tried and yet.

Then I go to the Black Nazarene whose fiesta is coming soon. Millions of


devotees go to Quiapo to touch His image to extract miracles or healing. During the
main procession, there is this statue of Jesus in the center of the heaving, reaching
throng whose skin tone is as dark as the great brown masses. In fairness, the Black
Nazarene didn‟t start that way. He was actually as fair as actor Robert Powell who
portrayed Jesus in the All Star cast movie „Jesus of Nazareth‟. But over time his skin
tone changed. Why? The inner wood used for the image turned the original white skin
deep brown and ever since, that is how it looked. You simply can‟t deny what you truly
are deep within your soul and the Black Nazarene was made of deep dark wood so
make way for the sun-tanned Christ for he is one of us!

Then of course we have the dainty and sweet-looking „Santo Nino‟ who looks
like a baby born of two Spanish Conquistador parents. He looks so angelic, pixie cute
and fair, can I adopt him? Even the Lady of Caysasay looks like a pregnant mestiza
wearing flowing robes who went to Thailand to teach the kids of the King of Siam in the
movie „The King and I‟. Which bring me to this child of two Lithuanian visitors that
came here to Taal and stayed with me for a couple of days. Their daughter Maya
looked like a heavenly angel. Blue eyes, blond hair, angelic smile, such a beautiful
child of 7. When I was given the privilege of walking her around, everyone stopped to
marvel at her heavenly cuteness. I even introduced her to a few movie stars and they

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dropped everything to meet her. One famous actress even said she wanted to adopt
her and bring her home. I am not so sure I would have gotten the same response if I
brought along a kid from Labac town who was as brown and black haired as the native
brown masses. Maybe you are getting my drift?

Let‟s go back to the image of Christ we see on TV and the movies. He looks like
a warrior white knight. So noble and iconic strong. You can easily spot him because he
looks so dashing. James Cavaziel‟s portrayal of Jesus in Mel Gibson‟s movie „The
Passion of the Christ‟ was so moving and heart rendering. I wept when I watched that
scene with his mother Mary when he said „Behold, I make all things new‟. But for as
much as Mel Gibson made a compelling and powerful interpretation of Christ, I am not
sure if the actual Christ stood beside Cavaziel you would think he was one and the
same person. You might even be totally disappointed in the truth. For one thing, Jesus
Christ was a Palestinian Jew. And back during those days they looked quite scruffy
looking, olive dark skinned, gnatty hair and short. Jesus was a carpenter so he must
have been built like one. Strong, heavy set and grounded, much like a sweaty laborer
you see in Taft Avenue fixing the streets during the day shift, the garbage collector
who throws your garbage into the truck as it goes on its rounds in the neighborhood or
your carpenter who comes to your house yearly to fix your roof. There was a reference
of Christ when he was going to be arrested in the Mount of Olives that the Roman
soldiers could not particularly spot him because he didn‟t stand out in the crowd of
disciples. Even Judas had to kiss him to separate him from the people around him. So
Christ perhaps looked like one of us. Plain, normal, ordinary, quite indio or masa
looking but we all know his virtues were extra-ordinary... And so when we portray him
today and he looks like Gerard Butler‟s King Leonidas from the movie „300‟, just be
careful. You may be overdoing it to the point that his representation becomes totally
inaccurate. But Christ‟s image is just one revision of many.

Even Mary may have looked totally different than what we perceive her to be.
She looks so dainty and feminine in pictures, so pure like the image of Olivia Hussey
or Sarah Geronimo when she was a young lady. But bear in mind Mary was tough.

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She rode those camels back all the way to Bethlehem when she was pregnant and to
Egypt from Israel to escape King Herod‟s decree to kill all children under three. She
gave birth to Jesus in a barn that smells of animal dung to high heavens. Jesus was
laid in a manger which is a dignified way of saying he was laid in a place where pigs
and cows ate their slop. Joseph and Mary were earthy people indeed. Over here we
call them „hampas lupa‟.

Here is the point I am trying to make. There is something subliminal going on


when we knell in front of human images of saints and our Lord Jesus Christ that may
have no connection whatsoever to the truth of their real image. And I remember the
second commandment. Make no graven image of the heavens above or of the earth
beneath. Perhaps the point Moses was trying to make was, that image could be
manipulated to make you worship something that is not, to limit your faith in God in one
particular view when his power and his presence is limitless. Rather than follow some
high and mighty human interpretation of what God looks like, I would think he wants
you to tap into his awesome abstract truth that has power to move mountains. That
truth can never ever be drawn on paper or sculpted on a statue you fawn over. I am
even willing to say that this has a significant influence on our strong colonial mentality
seeing that when we meet foreigners whose skin tone differs from us, we may
presume God-like virtues unto them because they look like the one we pray to when
we go to the Basilica. When you knell and worship in front of the Fab 4, you in effect
could also desire their image. Get it? I have seen our fellow Pinoys fawn over white
peoples and bend over backwards to accommodate them simply because they look
different than us. Heck I did it too. I even married a beautiful, fair colored, strawberry
blond haired, blue-eyed lady that looked like Grace Kelly over 20 years ago only to find
out she was totally different culturally from me. We tried to bridge the great divide but
regretfully, it didn‟t work out. I wish her well and give her utmost respect.

But here is a reality check. Kabayan, they are no different than you and me.
They are as capable of heroic virtues, noble sacrifice and utter deep depravity and
corruption just like you and me. So don‟t think they are special or „angat sa iyo todo‟

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that you would bend so far backwards to accommodate them. Don‟t lose your identity
when you are hospitable to them. They are like you. They wake up, brush their teeth,
go do their thing in the toilet and put on clothes same as you do. They eat three square
meals and go to sleep when they are tired. They complain when they are frustrated
and they cry when they are in pain. If you prick their skin, it will bleed red blood just like
yours. There is nothing iconic about them except the illusions you permit of yourself
that you infer of them. Heck you may even have a better story than all of them
combined. So don‟t think of them as any higher than you. Don‟t fawn over them.
Instead think of them as your equal for they really want to get to know and imbibe you.
Share to them your awesome culture for this is the reason they are here. Don‟t try to
accommodate them with the familiar but show them who you really are and they will
deeply appreciate it. As Martin Luther King once said and I infer it here to us Pinoys as
we treat foreigners. „Judge me not by the color of my skin but the content of my
character.‟

Perhaps if God walked the earth to be seen, what would he look like? I have
asked this question many times and mulled it deeply within. I can never really qualify
nor quantify God in all his width and breadth because he is so much more that I can
fathom. He is so profoundly abstract. His virtues rise to meet the sky far beyond that I
can ever think, dream of or comprehend. He is holy. He is righteous. I am dirt. He is
universal. He is sublime. I am but the microscopic dust of the dust of stars. I humble
myself, totally limited in front of his presence because he is the great „I Am That I Am‟.
Who am I to say I deeply know him? For if I went high with him, I think there comes a
point I will pop like a balloon because my mind can never ever contain the height of his
presence. He is so deep, so wide, so high, so majestic in truth and glory, so breath-
taking… My words can never capture his presence no matter how beautiful, how poetic
I have rendered or explained it… It‟s like diving deep into the Philippine trench. At a
certain point, I cannot contain the pressure of the waters above me and I will turn to
mush. And he is all that ocean, the sky, the earth, the Galaxy, the Universe and so
much more. I am so puny and everything I am he gives me because I can never
comprehend him unless he allows me.

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But for the sake of this story let‟s do a little experiment since God did say something
about himself. He said we are ALL made in his image and likeness. So by the
mathematical doctrine of transitivity and my limited humble logic, he must look like ALL
of humanity. And since we know we exist and there is a wide racial diversity of us
humans everywhere, let‟s then simulate this truth in a simple kids playground
experiment. Let‟s get a multi colored Crayola box of wax crayons. Each color we see in
the box can represent the breadth of racial diversity of all human creation. Let‟s get a
metal container and start putting the colored crayons altogether. Then under a low
flame, let‟s carefully mix it in slowly. White color, with the yellow, with the black, the
bronze, the vanilla, the olive dark tone, all the crayon colors of the diverse Human
Rainbow.. Let‟s Volt In! After it‟s all done and as Bono once sang, all the colors have
bled into one, pray tell….. What have you got for me my Dear Daughter? Daddy, I
got….. I got Chocolate Brown! Is 1+1 = 2? „The color of this Crayon that I have on my
hand is… B… B..Blu.... Brown? Brown as Dirt!?! Well Hello!!

And we are back to us, the humble people like us Pinoys who look like the dirt
like us, the great chocolate brown poor masses laboring under the sun for too long like
us. That little brown child begging in the streets at 9 pm like us. That poor sun-tanned
laborer sleeping under the bridge and near the gutter like us. That poor Alipin maid we
are looking down upon, paying lip service, using and exploiting but not really liberating
like us. That brown, beautiful, delicate and noble young lady of 23 sacrificing and
selling her body in the big city KTV because she can‟t find a decent wage so she can
give dignity to her family like us…. If we go by our Catholic truth of venerating images,
perhaps we should be raising an image across every church in the archipelago that
looks more like one of us. But why even bother when God is far greater than the brown
skin that limits us?

Folk singer Joan Osborne once sang…. „What if God was one of us? Just a slob
like one of us? Just a stranger on the bus trying to make his way home..‟ Let me now
rephrase her lyrics… What if God was Brown like us… Hampas Lupa like one of us…

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Just a stranger on the street trying to beg his way home…. Would you reach out your
hand and try as you might help them rise like they should for the greater good? Would
you break down your elitist, entitled, mata-pobre, plantation-like slavery mentality that
have marginalized them and kept them in poverty? Would you tear down that „Alipin sa
Gigilid‟ wall in your heart that has separated them from you? Would you accord them
an education so they can find a career and a measure of dignity? Will you break down
the monopolies and give them opportunity? Will you make them free?

For they are everywhere. They are our next-door neighbor. They ride the
jeepney and bear the grinding traffic daily. They eat pagpag and sometimes none at
all... Will you change this dynamic and get into the heart of the problem? Will you
break the shackles of the chains of poverty and bring liberty? What are you going to do
about it? For the sun-kissed children of the lesser God may actually be the greatest of
them all. And when we do our part, perhaps we are not far from the Kingdom of
Heaven after all.. Ala Eh!

The Joy of Knowing Mary

By Pio Goco at the Goco Ancestral House, Taal (October 4, 2014)

The Virgin Mary. We all know of her. Perhaps she represents the pinnacle of
Womanity. How a humble obscure teenager called by God to be the mother of the
Christ becomes an icon, a “Goddess”, an image of reverence and a symbol of faith
forever.

It was perhaps later when the significance of Mary's acts achieved immortal
greatness. I imagine she had a tough time when she was alive. Let's go through the

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story. Here was this teen perhaps not even 16 who was engaged to a man named
Joseph. But prior to their marriage and consummation, an angel visits. Hail Mary! Full
of Grace! The Lord is with Thee! He tells her a profound thing. If she so accepts, she
will be the mother of the Promise of God to all mankind. God himself in the flesh will
come from her. A foreshadowing event will make her pregnant with child. She accepts
and so it happens.

For as much as she has been blessed by the God of history and has a role in it,
imagine how inconvenient this all is. How will she explain to many her predicament?
Joseph her fiancee at first didn't believe. Of course how could you? I mean really? God
made you pregnant? He was ready to dismiss her but if not for a dream, their marriage
would not happen.

There were many things foretold about the Christ, where he would come from,
what he will do. But this would all happen at the suffering of the mother for it would
never be easy for her to explain how Jesus came about. I imagine the conversations
with her neighbors. "So Mary.. Who is Jesus's Dad? It‟s unlikely to be Joseph since
Jesus was born less than 9 months before you both married. And then she answers.
God made Jesus happen. God is his Dad. God made me pregnant".

This answer is really quite hard to take. She would be declared insane not to
mention less than excellent marriage material. The truth of her experience will lead her
to be mocked, disrespected and not accorded honor when she was still alive. I imagine
raising Jesus would present many questions and none of which gave her comfort
except that the truth though blessed as it is, also hurts.

And then he comes to his own. We hear Mary plead with Jesus to change water
to wine just to prove he is who she says he is. He is inconvenienced but he does it. It
was probably necessary to quell the doubts about him and keep mockers at bay. And
then the Passion on the Cross. The cruelty of the death of his son. After all the
indignities of raising Jesus, he dies a shameful death. He is beaten up and mocked.

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Her son is declared a criminal that deserves the ultimate punishment of execution. He
goes through the humiliations and suffering of the Cross. Mary must have been
heartbroken. It cannot end this way. This is not how the King of Kings dies. This cannot
be. The child of promise cannot possibly lead to this. How could this happen?

If Christ did not rise up from the dead in 3 days, Mary would have passed
through history as an insane and deluded woman. There was no middle ground. She
would have been humiliated and finally forgotten. Another pretender who got her just
desserts for claiming her son was God himself.

But the truth redeems her. She is saved from the harsh judgment of History. Her
son is who she claims him to be. Mary rises from the ashes as her son rises like a
Phoenix. She is carried along with him to immortality, greatness and glory. She is now
called Mary, the Mediatrix of Graces. Mary the Queen. Blessed is she of all women.
Her faith, her truth has saved her.

Disclaimer: The titles attributed to Mary do not express the opinions of Heaven's
management. They are simply titles given by human history as a result of the glory she
has attained. As to the truth and veracity of these claims, please ask your local Pastor
or Priest.

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God Can See Us All

By Pio Goco at the Goco Ancestral House, Taal (September 29, 2014)

Yes there is human nature and its despicable acts, but God works in History
and can still use that. Take a look at the long list of utterly flawed people in the Bible he
has worked with. No one is perfect, not even one. Everyone falls short of the Glory of
God and I mean everyone. Even the Virgin Mary of all people said she needed a
Savior.

"Sometimes do you ever wonder why God called you to do something for Him? There
are many reasons why God shouldn't have called you, or me, or anyone else for that
matter, but God doesn't wait until we are perfect to call us. Think of all those God used.
You're in good company if you think you aren't ready for God to use.

Abraham lied.
Sarah laughed at God's promises.
Moses stuttered.
David's armor didn't fit.
John Mark was rejected by Paul.
Timothy had ulcers.
Hosea's wife was a prostitute.
Amos' only training was in the school of fig-tree pruning.
Jacob was a liar.
David had an affair.
Solomon was too rich.
Jesus was too poor.
Abraham was too old.
David was too young.
Peter was afraid of death.
Lazarus was dead.

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John was self-righteous.
Naomi was a widow.
Paul was a murderer. So was Moses.
Jonah ran from God.
Miriam was a gossip.
Gideon and Thomas both doubted.
Jeremiah was depressed and suicidal.
Elijah was burned out.
John the Baptist was a loudmouth.
Martha was a worry-wart.
Mary may have been lazy.
Samson had long hair.
Noah got drunk.
Did I mention Moses had a short fuse?
So did Peter, Paul and lots of folks.

But God doesn't hire and fire like most bosses because He's more like our Dad
than a boss. He doesn't look at financial gain or loss. He's not prejudiced or partial, nor
sassy and brassy, nor deaf to our cry. He's not blind to our faults. His gifts to us are
free. We could do wonderful things for others and still not be wonderful ourselves.
Satan says, "You're not worthy!" Jesus says, "So what? I AM." Satan looks back and
sees our mistakes. God looks back and sees the Cross."*

The study of humanity tells us that despite the flaws of man, we can be
redeemed and used for a higher purpose. He calls and rises within us and makes us
righteous even when our flesh fails us. He has the power to redeem us for he so
deeply loves us. The cross of Jesus washes over all of us. He can make us whole and
new again if by faith we let him. Our burdens be on him because he can take it. God
can use us all if we allow him. And he will do so with you just like he did with all the
others prior to you, if you are willing

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SECTION VI

PIO, THE SOCIOLOGIST, OBSERVES

Shopping for The Best Ideas in the World Wide Web

By Pio Goco at Goco Ancestral House, Taal (June 13, 2018)

The digital internet revolution has changed everything. To me it's a double-


edged sword. We are all connected and yet we aren't. We have many friends on social
media and yet we can really only count a few real friends in our hands. Virtual is not
real and yet virtual shows us the world real time. It is a powerful medium to explore
and find out about everything under the sun.

I kinda liken the World Wide Web as a gigantic supermarket. In it, you can
partake of anything. Ask and you shall receive. Seek and you shall find. To all that are
curious, you can be a kid in a candy store. You can learn many things on your own if
you learn to ask the right questions. It can also be a drug to those that are looking for
toxic stuff. It can reinforce bad ideas because they can simply look for references to
affirm it. It can be a waste of time for idle, lazy minds.

I guess what I am saying is.. in a supermarket that has everything, including


poison and dynamite, you just need to stay away from the junk food. And perhaps that
goes the same with kids on it. We don't let loose our young kids in a supermarket

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because chances are they will always choose the candy.. Rather we guide them to
choose what is needed and what will strengthen them into adulthood. And perhaps that
is my attitude about the internet when it comes to kids. Exposing kids in the candy
store for too long makes them stupid. Giving kids total freedom in it is akin to giving
them bubble gum dinners always. It's bad for their total makeup. Why? Because they
are still not mature and lack the proper judgement of adults. They still make mistakes
and make poor choices.

It is all about choices in the World Wide Web. There are also other things other
than the matrix. There is also real life, face to face meet ups, soirees and parties,
interpersonal relationships, getting dirty under the sun, the birds and the bees and
climbing trees. There is balance. To me, virtual kids are weird kids. Virtual
overstimulation makes them like drug addicts. They have the look of zombies. And
when real life hurts hits them, they tend to crumble. For life isn't a simulated video
game. There aren't reboot do overs when you hurt someone. There is a big gap
between honest hard work and the immediate rewards of surfing the internet.

So just like, you don't leave kids to play in the supermarket, same with the
internet. Unless you want to end up in in the check out aisle paying big time for shit
you don't tolerate.

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Rather Than One Lone-Ranger Hero, We Need Five Heroes!

By Pio Goco at Goco Ancestral House, Taal (June 19, 2018)

Between the three known Colonizers, I view the Spanish one with greater
trepidation and ambivalence.

The Americans at least educated us. Some education or even western


education is better than none. They were also clearly Capitalistic and after our natural
resources to pay for our colonization. When the cost-benefit analysis was skewed to
the negative after WW2, they were only too relieved to let us have our independence.

The Japanese are a noble culture but widespread abuse of Filipino citizens
happened here as well. Their record of murder and mayhem though short did not leave
a lasting imprint in our culture except thru the erasing of our heritage infrastructure.

The British just wanted treasures which they did bring back to their Motherland.

The Spanish on the other hand really left a vast imprint stretching 300 years.
They erased the culture before it, giving us an impression that our civilized history only
started after 1521 when actually it started way way before that. Their legacy of Spanish
Catholic colonialism is very deep. But to me the most insidious to the Filipino finding
his identity is the fact that even our worship and our kaluluwa (soul) was even
colonized. Via the imagery of Spanish Catholicism, we bow down to white Gods. And
needless to say, once that association is established, beforelong we tended to bow
down to foreign influences as well.

It must have been quite a sight for the natives to see those huge Spanish
Galleons come in from the sea. They have never seen anything like it. That initial awe
they felt or we feel now when we see them approach us is powerful. Western

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Civilization and its imagery does intimidate and make us shudder. Same feeling we get
when we see an American aircraft carrier or see American sports, movies, music,
technology and culture in its natural form. They project a more superior power. But
Datu LapuLapu did not feign from a fight with them. He perhaps saw them as a
danger.

This is not about erasing colonial influences or banishing Catholicism and its
emphasis on imagery. Rather an awareness that their influence affects our identity and
our struggle or aspirations to see ourselves as equals to them. And when we are
aware, we can see how we can better adapt so that we can also lift up our culture as
distinct from them.

We are a product of our past. We have been damaged by abuses of our colonial
masters. We have also benefitted from their ideas. But despite it all, we are resilient
because our Republic despite tall odds was established and still exists. In our present
and future, as we build our sense of national identity, we take that which we have
experienced beforehand, study our history's narrative, see what has lifted us up, learn
hard lesson and do better than those who only used and abused us.

The time of our 1898 Philippine Revolution and the characters therein are
central because there we see the heroic Filipino pushing, struggling and fighting
valiantly despite vastly superior colonial powers lined up against it to define himself as
a distinct independent nation and republic. In that struggle and aspiration for a Filipino
identity and nationality, we think of Jose Rizal, Andres Bonifacio, Emilio Aguinaldo,
Apolinario Mabini and Antonio Luna. These fab five despite their human frailties and
limitations gave us our nation's Filipino soul. Within that soul is Rizal's Narrative
Context & Justification for Independence, Bonifacio's Brave Determination to Pursue
Independence, Aguinaldo's Political Will and Aspiration for the Republic's Recognition,
Mabini's Theories and Philosophies of Governance and Luna's Military Strategy and
Enforcement.

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Their narratives must rise as complementary of each other for this Republic to
find its identity. They must all be taken together and not picked apart. A fivefold bond is
never broken. They must be studied again and again for their contributions to our
independent and free republic. We take their character references, their ideas and
patriotism to make us a better version of ourselves. The great five together are our
True North Stars. Combined they are a Pacman force of a fist to reckon with. In their
combined stories and examples, there is compelling Pinoy substance. We become
more complete than just our individual parts.

We then see ourselves as made in the image and likeness of the Almighty with a
sense of dignity, honor and pride in the good and righteous narrative of our noble
aspirations and just causes. In them we see our Flag and in our diligent study of them,
we find our identity, find empowerment and become one.

Alice is in our Wonderland

By Pio Goco at Goco Ancestral House, Taal (June 21, 2018)

Wake up Alice...
With all the bizarre things going on, doesn't it feel like the world has fallen into a
wormhole and we are Alice?
In Wonderland, up is down and down is up.
It's like time is melting, weed is supreme and villains are heroes.
Where is True North again?
Why is Kim Jung Un smiling?
Why is Xi and Putin toasting?
Why is Rodman weeping?

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Image is Everything..
It feels like a Salvador Dali painting.
When did we hit the Event Horizon of no return?
How the heck did Trump win this thing?
Why are there so many random shootings?
What was the 'Abomination of Desolation' doing on the wall wailing?
Pure pragmatism..
What is with this trade war with your Allies? Aren't you satisfied with less than 4%
unemployment?
Why fix something when it's not broke?
The Human Rights Council is full of dictators... The Paris Accords is in a cloud of
smoke...
The Sheer Audacity of redefining marriage...
Whatever...
As long as we look cool like the Jenner Sisters, James Dean and Usher..
Why oh why Anthony Spade did you hang yourself?
Why is the voice of God accused of being a Sex offender?
Let's just KISS on the lips...
I feel like I'm in a haze of vape...
And the Mad Hatter comes along with the King of Hearts.
Off with their.... Pants!
In an era when every good and accurate information is at your finger tips, so many are
dumb as a brick. Kids can't even read an analog clock. They are jacked up on video
game dopamine hits..
Steak comes from supermarkets.
Malls are obsolete.
No one is playing on the merry go slide...
No one is climbing trees...
They play in the mancave surfing Youtube and PHub..
Our uber best friend is a Smartfone..
It's all in there... So so virtual...

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Put a ring on it..
And we look at the Matrix..
Neo.. Why did you have to choose the red pill? Now look where we are Keymaster....
Water water everywhere but not a drop to drink...
Guns with No Roses..
Rage against the Machine.. Just Rage..
Tears for my Fears.. Much Hurting...
Individual Rights.. I am FREE... to be Lonely..
Where is Mr. Rogers and Sesame St. when you need them?
The frog is steaming.
The Terminator's day is T minus 2 years and counting..
Why did we have to bite into that Apple when we were perfectly happy with munching
Blackberries....
Now we spawned Amazon Oracle Cain..
Tell me why why MJ...... Tell them that it's human nature...
And now we all live in the dynamic world of BrainiacZuckerberg... Feel the Power!
Wake up Alice.. Please Wake up.....
And she realizes, she is awake and we are Genus Humanus.... Live on Saturday
Night!! The Titanic just hit an Iceberg!

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We Are Like The Multi-Colored Rainbow.
A Halo-Halo Culture Too!

By Pio Goco at Goco Ancestral House, Taal (June 27, 2017)

I once knew a person who was quite confused and insecure about himself and
his own identity and yet was very popular. Despite his own limiting view of himself,
nearly everyone that knew him wanted to be like him or live his life. In many ways, that
description mirrors the Filipino. Being a product of his colonial past, he is Spanish,
American-influenced and yet he is also Asian Pacific Islander. Then add mixes of
Indian Sepoy, Chinese, Japanese even some British, Jewish, Muslim and Malay tribal
lines, he can be very confused about who he is. Then to top that, add centuries of
indoctrination of seeing himself as lesser than his Colonial Lords, he thinks he is
simply isn't good or equal enough. He does not measure up. But for sure, his journey
to where he is now is unique. He has evolved to become multi-cultural, educated,
professional, kind hearted, hospitable, patient, savvy, tolerant, prayerful, humble, brave
and open. His is a halo halo culture. We are trying hard sometimes to be someone
else. We try to appear Western and yet we are not. We are not Eastern either. Well
why don't we just appreciate and enjoy who we are since we are a product of our own
experiences.

In the pursuit of a National identity and a sense of Nationalism, how about this
idea. I am a Filipino and I am proud of who I am. I am proud of my history. We are
unique in our diverse identity and can never be rivaled in our halo halo complexity. We
are the nation of multi colored pearls and rainbows in a Pacific archipelagic setting.
The regional differences and varied languages are so fascinating and intoxicating.
Anthony Bourdain says, 'It's weird but refreshing'. We do not fit into a square peg.
Neither are we a round hole. We are not a damaged culture, rather a mish mash nation
of misfits that can fit. A 'curious contrasting contradictory conundrum' aka 'we are

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united in our differences' so don't mess with us askals. We are a wonderful mess of a
mosaic Republic that hums along.

How about we celebrate those differences? Altogether, a multi cultural nation


that gets along with its neighbors. Isn't that what everyone wants to become? We have
been aspiring for greener pastures and be like other nations but we never think our
neighbors also desire to be like us. So embrace us. Accept us. Love us. Identify with
your unique and peculiar narrative. We are all original. This is who we are and once we
get our act together and get our government to work for us and serve our national
interests, darn we can be tough to compete against. We are equal with other nations.
More than that, we can be leaders and examples in how the world can dispense with
racial and tribal enmity and hate and teach nations how to get along peacefully with
each other. That could be a suitable national legacy we can give the world because we
have been practicing that for ages here.

Now dispense with the colonial-mentality mindset and take pride in who you are
and have become. You are a gift to the world. Taas noo kahit kanino. A true red white
blue and yellow Filipino!

Babuyan Islands

By Pio Goco at Goco Ancestral House, Taal (February 18, 2018)

Behold the Pig. Piggy bank.. Jabba the Hot Pig.. The pig is a utilitarian beast. It
eats anything. I was told a story once that back in World War 2, pigs were very useful
because it ate anything and everything including human feces, vomit and gunk. And
once it was fat off the shit off everyone, it was eaten itself. How‟s that for a complete
process of recycling. I heard the meat was pretty good too. Yuck! That‟s perhaps why

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the Jews and Muslims don‟t eat pork. It‟s quite disgusting but Anthony Bourdain did
say we make the best lechon in the world. So I guess we perfected the crispy smoked
pig. And the secret ingredient is? Never mind...

This is a pig out country. We love our pigs.. Sometimes we become like them as
well. People who have no manners are pigs. They can‟t differentiate between breakfast
and dinner. They can‟t eat off good plates. They don‟t eat, they gobble and wallop their
food. Perhaps sa sobrang kahirapan, naghalo na ang balat sa tinalupan. Who needs
manners when they are not eating a decent meal or they are living in dirty
surroundings. Bara bara na lang Bay… Bahala na. Basta makakain lang. And then
they get used to this lifestyle and it‟s quite hard to get it off of them even if their lives
have gotten better.

I call it living in the margins aka zero tolerance for error and mistakes. They are
so tight, you really can‟t teach them anything. I once heard a Chef from Tagaytay say
that it‟s so hard to train good Filipino cooks these days because they keep going back
to their bad habits. You tell them exactly how it‟s done and they go back to doing what
they are used to when the Chef is not around. Eventually you have to scream at them
like Antonio Luna did in his movie that bears his name. Ayaw makinig dahil
nakasanayan na ang kababuyan nila.

Sometimes it gets so bad they become a whip. They need to be whipped by the
tongue sa tigas nang ulo. And then the friendly Chef realizes how can they be taught
these techniques when they don‟t live it when they are home. You can teach them
finesse and protocols at work but if they live like slobs at home, they will eventually go
back to their bad habits and then you become livid because you end up like a baby
sitter at work observing everyone.

That‟s what hardship does. It makes them so tight fisted you need to fight and
struggle with them just to open their hands. If that is a struggle, how much more if you
teach them. Puputi ang buhok mo sa kakatug- of-war. Then you are left exhausted and

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done for and its not even lunch break yet. A friend has learned how to deal with them.
She tries to speak to them in gentle terms. Coax them out of their shell by respecting
their person, teach them gently and listen to them. And she has succeeded in her style
somewhat because if they listen, that is half the battle there.

And I kinda understand that. When I was young and my Mom would scold me, I
get so wound tight, I get into my cocoon and defend my spirit from the onslaught. I
don‟t know if I really learned anything from being scolded like that. I become the
Makahiya flower. Noli Me Tangere.. Touch me not. But I am thankful because as my
Mom got older, she changed her style. She actually began to talk to me and I opened
up. And when I opened up, we became such dear friends and our conversations
became such joyful moments because we can go deep and have adventures of the
soul.

But a lot of people don‟t have the opportunity to be treated accordingly. And so
they remain wound tight. Poverty makes you tight fisted. It‟s like you want to punch
someone. Not only is life hard, they are hard as well. Their hearts are hard and when
the hardness has done its job, it‟s so hard to teach them anything. And perhaps it will
take a God like grace to open them up because they have no idea how to get
unwound. They have lived this way from day one, they don‟t know how to do anything
different.

And that is the problem because pag nahalo na ang balat sa tinalupan and they
shit where they eat, its kababuyan central. And that is what is happening when there
are too many poor people everywhere. Nabababoy lahat nang magandang asal at
kapaligiran. Look at Baguio, Tondo, parts of Pasig, Mandaluyong, San Juan. Look at
the esteros and the rivers in Manila. There are seas of them living there. They are all
living in such small spaces, the great huddled masses. Nearly all tight fisted, it‟s
overwhelming.

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When you go there it feels like a desert even if there are many people
everywhere. They could not wait to drag you down and crab you if there was an
opportunity to do so because they can become desperate. In Taal, when I do my tour,
on occasion I meet a Badjao who looks so anguished and emaciated, it tears my heart.
They look like they haven‟t drank water or eaten anything in days. How did these
people get to this? And when you see them eat, they do it anywhere and everywhere.
They are splayed in the streets eating with their hands. Their children are dirty and
uhugin. They lay to sleep anywhere. Nababoy na sila and it is so heartbreaking.

I was along Victoria Avenue, New Manila, QC two nights ago. I had some street
corner goto. And across my corner, I saw a mother with three children lying on the
corner. Two of them were girls around the age of 5. As their mother lay sleeping in a
carton mat, one of the little girls goes to the street corner to pee. It broke my heart. I
just cannot accept little children sleeping on the streets. They are like little flowers that
are trampled upon or found in a garbage can. All dignity is thrown out the window. And
then they grow up and they become hardened call girls and prostitutes selling
themselves to the highest bidder, a slave to money because to them that is the only
solution to their problem. Their flower is so beautiful and yet so dirty, it breaks me. It
breaks me. Binababuy sila. If I can only save them and give them dignity. And there
are so many of them this way now.

The problem with poverty is it‟s an ugly sight to see, just like traffic in Manila.
Everything is so tight and congested, you can barely breathe. You cannot think. There
is little or no appreciation for art, theory, philosophy and beauty when you are hungry.
There are places in the city that break me. Babuy na babuy na. Manila is a city under
siege. The city needs to rest but there is no rest for the weary. The colorum bus and
taxi driver needs to pay the bills so they take shabu just to drive all day and night to
make some coin to support their family. An honest Mall sales lady is paid 500 pesos a
day but she has to take public transportation back and forth and feed her child and
before long, the honest days wage cannot meet the needs so she becomes a hooker
because it pays better. And on top of that, she is contractual. She can barely make

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ends meet in her honest job and when her contract is done, she is out on the streets
looking for another job. Can you blame her for taking the easy way out? Nababoy na
sila.

No wonder most Filipinos want to leave this country. If they have no pull, they
have to go the entire way just to live here. There is a protocol for the common person
and another one for the rich one. The commoner lines up. The rich doesn‟t. Nothing is
easy for a commoner and everything is easy for the chosen one. Needless to say, the
chosen become spoiled rotten and totally misses the point while the commoner is
wound so tight, they just want to get out of here. While the rich can live in detachment
and privilege, the commoner lives in the razors edge and before long something
happens and they pay the pied piper. Kasi if you live too close to the slippery slope,
you need to be very alert and since they are only human and they can get sick or a
storm passes in, they are eventually pushed into the muck and that‟s it.. Nababoy na
rin sila.

There are places now that look like Baboy country. Baguio used to look so
beautiful. Now I can‟t smell the pine trees anymore. Tagaytay used to be cool. Now sa
dami nang traffic at tao, wala na ang morning dew. I somewhat fear for Taal kasi if
people come here like crazy because we have a measure of prosperity, we may not
manage the deluge and they will set up shop anywhere and there goes the charming
neighborhood. And there is nothing we can do about it but weep kasi they are so
many.

So how can we fix this? The reason poor people are tight fisted is because our
rich are tight fisted too. Baboy din sila. They are insatiable in their greed and appetite.
They don‟t want to share. They love their power and privileged upbringing. Maybe they
don‟t know any better. On top of that, they are matapobre not knowing that they are in
the same boat. So gulangan na lang. Binababoy ninyo ang mahirap at ayaw ninyo
mag-share? Bababuyin din namin ang maganda ninyong ginagawa. And eto na nga.
Squatters are everywhere. The air smells toxic. They throw garbage everywhere and

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they don‟t care. Until they show leadership and compassion by changing how we do
business around here, open their hands and be inclusive, we will remain as tight fisted
as they are and before long, something will happen. We will end up boxing each other
and the huddled masses will win because they are so much more than the elites. Is
that what you want?

So Tama na ang babuyan. Change the dynamics naman. Please please please,
share and make this country egalitarian. We need to grow up and smell the roses.
Let‟s not be insular. Inclusion starts from above and trickles down below. There are so
many pigs everywhere. But they are not lechon. They are baboy damo. They have
fangs and they are dirty and vicious. They eat anything and yes including their own
shit. Don‟t make the people stoop down to this level. You are only as good as your
weakest link so you need to shore up your ground. Otherwise this could explode and
there will be shit on your face and they will cast you down to the slop and mabababuy
rin kayo.

Tama na ang kababuyan. Please don‟t escape. Help the kids on the street.
Look around you and be grieved and however you do it, start giving the pigs dignity,
educate and empower them. I fear for the herd of pigs. They can eat us all. They don‟t
care about heritage and history when their stomachs are empty. Nothing is sacred
when they live on the knife‟s edge. And when they don‟t know who they are because
their life is always a search for the next meal ticket, they become savages and then
before long we all become slaves.

There is a place in Taal where the savage can know his soul and identity. To
me it is the most sacred place in the country. It is our Mecca, our Wailing Wall, our
Inner sanctum of the soul. It is not clean there. The place does not look like it is being
protected, appreciated and cherished. There is garbage everywhere. The people who
live there don‟t care because the gatekeepers of this culture that identifies with it and
prays there are not inclusive or changing who they are. What more them? So nababoy
na rin yun. The Filipino soul is dirty. It needs a cleansing from within but that won‟t

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happen if we all act like pigs. Who will release the Filipino from this mentality? How
can they achieve understanding and meaning? Who will give in? Who will lift the
people up from the dirt and slop? Who will provide significance and substance. It must
happen soon because if not they will get tired of eating the shit and before long it will
hit the fan.

We are the nation of the soulful big heart. We are like the great horse
Secretariat. We have such a big heart, we can withstand almost anything thrown at us.
But eventually, all things break down. Even Secretariat if she was ridden to the ground
will complain and God help us when she starts kicking out. Just because we are
patient and good doesn‟t mean you should keep going with the abuse. We have the
heart of champions but don‟t tread on me too much because before long they will find
their champion and it will not be pretty for those who have faith in the establishment
and the old ways.

If this continues, our heritage will be lost. No one will care for our sacred sites
and places of the heart. The herd will pick it apart and sell it por kilo and there will not
be a remembrance of our past. A people and culture with no context is untethered and
lost and when they are lost, nothing good comes out of it. We become a nation of Pop
and bubble gum and it is happening now. Look at your children. They know everything
but they don‟t know anything. They have no philosophy or context. They are detached
from the world around them. And that only makes the situation worse because they
have become oblivious. They are the next slave owners because they fear the
masses. They fear what they do not understand so they continue the abusive traditions
not knowing they are making things worse. They hide in their secluded subdivisions.
They go to their exclusive schools and mingle in their drinking places. Their world is
getting smaller and smaller, tighter and tighter. All this education they are getting but
they don‟t know how to solve the problem because they have become the problem.
And so I leave with a warning. The spirit of Golum is here. They covet your „precious‟
heritage and soul. They want the significance of the ring for themselves and want its
power and who cares about who they hurt and trample. They seduce you with their

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ephemeral greatness, their smoke and mirrors but they offer nothing to make things
better. They impose their will. They are consumed with their own ego and ambition at
the expense of everyone else. They could not care less if you lose. Winner-take-all and
they want it all! Inclusivity is for fools and losers. Ladies and Gentlemen, they are your
Lords and Ladies of the Manor.

If nothing changes and Golum rules the land and takes the wellspring, the pig
will have its revenge and in that day, mabababoy tayong lahat. You better believe it.
Change it before the day of reckoning. The herd of pigs are coming and before long, it
will eat everything you value, cherish and like. Frodo, Bilbo Baggins and Gandalf, we
need you. Otherwise, Release the Kraken! Pig out!

Suffer The Indio to Come Unto Thee, For Theirs Is The


Kingdom of Heaven

By Pio Goco at Goco Ancestral House, Taal (January 26, 2016)

Our recorded history has been ongoing for over 400 years and one common
thread of it all is the constant disenfranchisement of the great brown Masses. Their
children roam the countryside and the cities and they do not get any less. They are like
hardy blades of grass. They are constant, abundant and unceasing. If there are any
keepers of our practical traditions, it is them who keep it. They can hear the murmurs
of the soil, the troubles of the earth. They are the farmer, the laborer, the carpenter, the
tricycle driver, the fisherman, the humble store keeper, the garbage collector. They
have been there long before. They are still there now. Their practices are as steady as

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the sunrise and the sunset. They labor. They are grounded. They are tough. They
have many children, they listen to the wind and rain, the stars and sun, they retire in
quiet settings and start over. I have met many of them and they have no illusions. Life
may be easy, it may be hard but they are thankful for everything. They live by the
grace of God. Everything is a gift and they have souls of gold. To them, family is
everything. The dignity of their blood they must uphold. In the hardships of life, they
commit the ultimate sacrifices. They give of themselves so that their kin may live. And
when they do, they are proud and happy. To see their children and their next of kin
smile and eat, sleep in safe spaces, get educated, they will die unto themselves to
make it possible..

I know of a young noble woman, a warrior, a brave fighter.. in appearance, she


is brown and beautiful. She has an education. She has a striking presence, a steady
gaze, a stature. You can separate her from the crowd and yet she is modest, kind,
tender, humble and quiet. She gives of herself completely, passionately. She would
reach out to me but never impose. Within herself she burns and she yearns for
something better. She trusts me. She has revealed her truth to me. She has been
courageous in offering herself so I may see what is on the other side. It took a while for
me to get her point but she was patient. She is appealing to my heart and my gift to tell
her story, to reveal the ugliness of our national hypocrisy, to tell of her brokenness, her
heartbreak and the awful choices she had to make to get to where she is. In her
vulnerability, she would share to me… She would say to those who would have
interest in her younger sister… „Please don‟t take her. Take me instead. Give her a
chance to have a better life. I would rather go to hell so she can go to heaven. Please
oh please not her.‟ And she has done it. She has accepted her fate. She has given her
body and her dignity so that her innocent sisters, her brothers, her parents would have
an opportunity for a better life. I think of her often because my heart breaks for her
sacrifice. I reach out to her and wish to protect her, to give her dignity, nurture and
make her whole. I pray for her and I wish you would pray for her too. She is
determined to do what she must for her burdens are many. She has counted the cost
to her and she simply cannot accept that her family go hungry, to live in the margins

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with no dignity. So she has set off to another land bravely. She is in a place where
there is depravity. She has a heart of gold but she has become a butterfly so her family
may be rooted and not be blown away. She has laid down her life completely. I am
wretched and torn and early in the morning I think of her. My heart bleeds for her. I
have never met a more noble young woman, so courageous and determined. She has
put herself on the line and offered herself as a sacrifice. Her only fault? She was born
too near the ground and in this country, when you are born close to the dirt, you return
to it soon enough.

We have many of them in our country. Try as they might, there is a glass ceiling
that stops them. That ceiling may be there because of their shame, because of what
they have done. They cannot assume to enter the domain of the Lords for the light
may expose them and they will burn for their ambition. They would rather stay in the
dark, under cover. They are Alipins in their soul. More so they have been made Alipins
because of the social mores and their environment. They only walk the perimeters but
never enter. Their hearts cannot bear the truth they tell and so they fade away, never
knowing what it is to be in the center. And that is a tragedy for they have every right to
be there because they are equal. For God loves us all and they are precious like we
are.

In this land, injustice and inequality is the rule for the majority rather than the
exception. It has been like this ever since we can all remember. But it was not like this
in the beginning. In our past, we were all children of the earth and we had Datus as
leaders but each had a voice and each tribe covered their own. When Magellan came,
I would imagine the Datus back then that met him and his crew were open to these
strange people that came from the sea. They welcomed them but they weren‟t fools.
They came carrying the cross of Christ but they also carried the sword of their
kingdom. They meant to evangelize but they also came to subdue and exploit and
soon enough, they showed the blade of their insatiable covetousness. History will
record that Magellan was slain by a native named Lapu Lapu perhaps for offending his
hosts and the remnants of them then left after they were defeated in battle.

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Life in the islands would go back to normal. Our people would go out in the
oceans to fish and plant their crops in season and out of it. They may have even
forgotten this strange skirmish with these people of the cross and the sword but before
long they were back. Maybe we forgot all about them because it took these strangers
almost 50 years to get back to our land but now these strangers were wiser. They will
not commit the same mistakes. They ingratiated themselves to the people and used
the Cross more. They familiarized themselves with the new territory but they didn‟t
show the sword until it was time. They established a beach head in our hearts and
when the time came, they seized the islands by storm with their supreme guns and
cannons. By their flag and banner, they subdued the island peoples, planted their flag
and dedicated it for the Kingdom of Spain. They claimed all the land as their property
and they named it after their King Philip, and the Philippines as we know it today was
born. As in any other colonial land subdued for their interest, they established their
culture of control. There was a pecking order. There was the King, the Governor
General, The Guardia Civil, The Friars, The Peninsulares, The Insulares, The
Ilustrados and lastly the Indios where the Alipins and Slaves came from. To those who
understood how things go, they benefited. It was a caste system. The life of privilege in
the islands come by birth rather than merit. You are so fortunate if you are born with a
title and a silver spoon in your mouth. You get way ahead. You get to live in comfort, in
dignity, in the presence of Alipins who will look after you and even spoil you. You get
an excellent education and get to travel and see the world too. Because you don‟t have
to work hard for what you have, you get to live a life of leisure. You have much free
time and you can read literature and develop ideas so you can keep ruling and stay
ahead of the restless masses.

Favor comes by birth and if you are favored, you are fortunate. You can only
advance if you understood how everything worked. But for the many Indios, they were
held back because they had nothing to offer except their labor and there was plenty of
it so it was not as valued. The biggest difference between the Spanish and the
Americans were the Spanish could not care less about the dignity of every individual.

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They only cared for their own interests. Stupid is as stupid does. Let the native Indios
remain stupid so we can exploit them for their labor capital. After all that was why they
were there in the Philippines for. They had no illusions about it. Subdue, exploit, tax
and rule and take what‟s valuable back to Spain, for glory, for kingdom, for Lordship
and the recognition of the Crown. And to not make it too harsh to the point that people
revolt, give them Mama Mary and Jesus Christ and make them pliable, tangible,
touchable, relatable and beautiful so after all that harsh back breaking work, abuse and
injustice, their reward is to go to heaven. Let them all go to Heaven while the Spanish
Lords take the Earth. That is the way it is. And they did this for hundreds of years.

The Indios like the powerless black men and women of Colonial America were
the best workers for the Plantations and the farms. They had no leverage so take the
men and make them do laborious work. Take the women, make them help around the
kitchen and have them as staff of the household while the pretty and seductive ones,
use them as mistresses or for pleasure then when we tire of them, discard them and
get new ones. Eventually, the Indio women found a way to make their powerlessness
and humiliation work for them by having the White Man‟s children. The Peninsulares
had their share of the Natives but the natives knew the Friars were vulnerable because
they were hypocritical. They spoke of Jesus and preached about him but deep in their
hearts they desired the flesh of the seductive brown women and there were many of
them. Apparently, there was nobility inferred if they had kids with them for they were
treated better than the children of the dirt. God willing, their children may even get an
education for they had none. Thus was born a percentage of the Insulares as well as
the Ilustrados and over time, they became a distinct class unto themselves for they
prospered. The Insulares and Ilustrados at first owned their allegiance to their Patrons
but over time, both classes and especially the Filipino Ilustrados would move further
away and foment ideas of freedom for the people. They perhaps saw how awful and
marginalized their Indio brothers were having it and finally when Fathers GomBurZa
were executed, they knew they had to act because they really don‟t have a voice. They
had no power and even if they had wealth, education and a measure of privilege, deep
in their hearts they knew they were still slaves. They had little or no rights and if they

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felt they had any, it was merely reflected glory, an inference but it wasn‟t theirs. The
pecking order was supreme. And so they revolted against the Spanish but it was short
lived. The world was changing and a new world power, the Americans stepped in.
„Manifest Destiny‟ was now in fashion.

When the Filipinos saw them, they perhaps felt the Americans were cut from the
same cloth as the Spanish. We certainly did not need another Colonial power to rule
over us. But fortunately for us, the Americans were different. America was also a
Colonized country. They declared their independence against the British in 1776. They
were a free people but the colonial vestiges and bad habits remained. Women were
still not able to vote and black men and women were still not treated equal. Abraham
Lincoln and the Civil War did happen so there was egalitarian enlightenment… Father
Abraham banished the hypocrisy and affirmed what the Forefathers of the US
Constitution have stated: „For All Men are Created Equal and have been endowed
certain inalienable rights among them were Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness‟.

The Americans were ambivalent colonizers but they also knew they acquired us as
spoils of the Spanish-American War. We were bought for a discounted price of $20M
USD or roughly $1 USD per Filipino head so the Spanish could save face. We were
now American property. And so they came to our shores with their might and power
and subdued and colonized us as well under the pretext of helping our little brown
brothers. They imposed their will on the people but there is a marked difference this
time around which perhaps over time made the Filipinos warm up to them.

The Americans gave to the greater masses „Public Education‟ which the
Spanish never did. The Thomasites came and spread all over the land and for the first
time, the Indios have tangible hope. They were going to be educated. From the first
fruits of this educated masses came Filipino College graduates and Professionals.
Even til today, we thank the Americans for the establishment of public education for it
gives opportunity to those who have earned it by study, merit and hard work. But still,
even if the Indios were being educated, they had little or no land nor capital so in the

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end, only their labor mattered. In parallel, we haven‟t really broken free from our own
Colonial experience because the old vestiges, systems and structures of Imperial
colonialism, to subdue and control are still there. Bad habits die hard. But this time, as
we got our Independence from the Americans in 1945, the colonial masters were now
our brothers and sisters. This is how it was. This is how it will be. And until people are
aware of the injustices within the systems which they have inherited, it will always be
this way. Our elite brothers and sisters also obtain a material benefit in the form of
riches so why change it?

But at least we have a Democracy. Re-established in 1986, we are once again


Free or we have the illusion that we are free. But as we look at the poverty numbers
and the marginalization of our fellow countrymen, something is very wrong. Our
women are still being abused and our men are forced to take jobs overseas simply
because we do not have enough of them in our country. Under the pretext of
Protectionism, we have empowered the continued under-employment of our own
countrymen by forcing them to take limited jobs that are not equal to their skills and
capabilities. The Plantation mentality is hard to wean from. The rich Pinoys, the
children of Privilege and Entitlements, the new Lords of the Ring have power over us
and this time, they enforce their rigid rules so they can exploit us yet again. The Indios
are screwed all over again and more and more of our men and women become like
butterflies desperate to leave and find purpose and meaning in other lands.

Democracy is the rule of the people, by the people, for the people. Abraham
Lincoln said this in the „Gettysburg Address‟ but that idea is a Universal one. The US
Constitution for as much as it was meant for America was in fact a Constitution for ALL
people desiring Freedom. And for a people to stay free, the interests of the people are
paramount above everything else. So that means fair play, level playing field. No
special business interest rises above that of the people‟s interest. So therefore no
Monopoly, Duopoly, Oligarchy, Elitism or Plantation Owner must have too much power
so that they can manipulate the market for their purpose. The job of our Law makers is
to spot these inequalities and when they do, always level the playing field. And sorry,

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to those who espouse the idea that „those who have less in life must have more in law‟.
I beg to disagree. I would rather counter and say the law is blind to the rich and poor
and we are all entitled to fair and equal justice under the law.

I am a Nationalist. I would prefer that Filipino Businesses be given the right of


first refusal to invest in businesses and provide employment all over the land. But if
that is not possible, I would rather see Filipinos get good jobs that are provided by
Foreigners than have them suffer. For their dignity is a top priority. Instead of aspiring
for jobs, I would rather encourage Filipinos to create jobs. I would rather the
government create an entrepreneurial environment to encourage Mom & Pop
businesses to be established for when they are successful, they are the sources of
employment that government can extract fair taxes from. However, it is not easy to run
a business. It requires much wisdom and good judgment to turn a profit. The value
proposition may keep changing and moving. It is not guaranteed that success will
happen. It is hard enough to compete and earn your keep. More so if government has
so much red tape. Government must then pave the way with efficient systems,
incentives and stimulus and make the business process simple because business
attrition is high. Doing a start-up is a risky proposition but nevertheless a sign of a
healthy business community is if there are many start-ups sprouting. For every
business success story, more competition happens. And the more competition there is,
the more choices there are and innovation happens. And innovative companies are
fertile ground for creative pursuits and multiplication of loaves and fishes. It is then the
duty of Government to create every possible way to push policy to this direction. And
for this to happen, it starts with a vision which is implemented in purpose-driven
education. Win-Win!

We have many islands that are asleep waiting for their potential to be realized.
A rock has the potential to create a seismic explosion, an energy release which can
then be harnessed and used for productive gain. Albert Einstein has proven it via his
formula of E=MC2. If dead rocks have that power, what more the Filipino human
potential? Realized Potential = Human Capital + Creative Action (Squared). If we

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enable this formula in the policy level, and an explosion of creativity within the heart
and soul of the people happens, then a Bayanihan Renaissance blooms all over the
land. And that potential is achieved when there is justice, fair play and freedom for the
individual. For all freedoms are rooted in God as the giver of life. We deny it to our peril
and so I would rather the people acknowledge this truth so they don‟t stray from it. For
Man cannot be independent apart from the one who gives him enlightenment, meaning
and purpose. For ultimately, we are connected to the Earth and everything in it and the
Universe that holds it all. For as much as Man has revealed so many mysteries in the
Sciences, there are still so many mysteries to be revealed for the elevation of man‟s
condition and it can only happen if we are connected to the one who reveals them. Call
him God, call him a Higher Intelligence, call him a mysterious all powerful provider, a
revelation. Call him Divine Providence. Call him anything but the one who designed the
human mind and body, the earth we live in and the air we breathe whether it be done
via Evolution or Creation is tangible and it works within our existing ecosystem. We are
the rare Diamonds of the Universe for we have intelligent life in this Earth. We all have
equal potential to show how great we are but it can only happen when we know who
we are deep within. And this can be true too for the Indio if we enable them.

And so to our leaders and elders the Land… those of us who live in Privilege
and entitlement, of land, wealth, celebrity and power, of education and connections, of
influence and affluence. Why do the great masses have to pass the eye of the needle?
BTW, How‟s that traffic in Manila? Don‟t you just love being forced to squeeze together
like sardines in your City of light? Are you not emasculated? All your light and ampere
are going to waste like time and energy resources wasting away in EDSA. You are so
fearful of the countryside and the people who desperately need your brightness. Are
you enjoying the fruits of your insatiable desire to control? How is that pecking order?
Are you basking in the fruits of your wonderful quality of life in the big city? How is that
wall of separation working for you? You covet so much power for yourself only and like
Golum, you now get to eat it. For as much as your ego has overcome you and you
have become the patron and benefactor of your many minions, for some reason,
everything seems to be turning to mush. Listen, you cannot possibly carry it all. So do

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not be greedy. Do not be insatiable. Even rapacity has its limits. Sooner than later you
will be full and then what? We all suffer while you sleep in your gluttony?

You seem to act like an all-powerful God in this country but you are nothing
more than elevated star dust. You are so so limited. You are an itsy bitsy fish in a very
very small pond. Yes you have wealth and power in this land and you may even have
power to silence the voices in the wilderness but you cannot deny the truth. You are an
anachronism. Your ways are obsolete. And just like King Herod and King Ahab, you
will die in your wicked ways if you continue it. For what does it profit a man…… And so
I appeal to your children. To my Ilustrious brothers and sisters. To those who have
been given the privilege of being enlightened. Soon it will be your time if it isn‟t your
time now. Don‟t waste the opportunity to free your country. We desperately need new
ideas for many are withering in the vine. I know you feel what I feel when I say I am
sick of this bullshit and I will not take this stench, this poison of brown nosed privilege
anymore. I am sick of seeing the child begging on the street at 11 pm. I am sick of the
marginalization and the waste of life. Same as it ever was. But instead of reacting, I will
be wise. I will stay in the game and I will exercise my influence to steer this ship of
good hope and do what I can to bring it to deep waters. I will change its course by the
power of my words and action so help me God!

I am not saying to give your wealth away but rather use your power, your
influence so others may have an opportunity to also obtain wealth just as you have.
Level the playing field. Depart from the Plantation Mentality. Stop selling your soul to
the highest bidder. Stop manipulating the stories to benefit you at the expense of the
greater majority. Stop being afraid. Break the hegemony. You have a responsibility to
your people. You have a responsibility to your Democracy. And if you don‟t look at it
and deny it, the day will come that the great mass of people will come to your elite
subdivisions and high walls and strip you naked. You don‟t want that. So with your dust
of an ego, connect yourself to the wide expanse of the Universe. Humble yourself.
Liberate the masses from centuries of injustice. Dispense with the control dynamics,

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the traditions and colonial systems of old. It is not a zero-sum game and there is more
than enough for everyone. Please make this country more Egalitarian!

For the dignity of the life of the Filipino is paramount. The dignity of this young
noble Filipina sacrificing her body and soul in a strange land is precious. She and all
the other marginalized Filipinas and Filipinos under slavery are praying and the Lord is
hearing their prayer. They want to be free. They desire to be whole. They desire to be
rooted, have permanence and happiness in their hearth and home. They deserve
equal treatment and opportunity in this beautiful but barren and broken-hearted
country.

Behold the Indio-Bravo. Declare the season of Jubilee. Break the yoke and set
the spirit of man free. Break the bonds of this perverse and exploitative Colonial
mindset and the bad habits it has fostered among us. For the Indios are family. It is
time we came into our land of promise. Our land of milk and honey. It is time to do our
duty for we deeply love this country, our people and this Democracy. Suffer the Indio to
come unto thee for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven. They are everywhere. Let your
faith become real.. Ala Eh!

Story Tellers, Come Forth!

By Pio Goco at Goco Ancestral House, Taal (February 16, 2016)

I love stories. There is no better way to read history than in stories. When I was
a child, I always read story books. I had Kids Bible Picture books and Hardy Boys
books to while my time away. Then I went into my Mom‟s Reader‟s Digest and
National Geographic collection and all our Time-Life Books in the library. Reading was

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my pastime and I had many days where I would just retreat in my bedroom quietly and
read and read away.

I even read record playing albums. I loved context and why certain songs were
done a certain way and the stories behind them. The Beatles were an All-time favorite
because they always had context and stories behind their songs. Led Zeppelin as well.
It humanized the songs and they let us into their creative process which was moving
and inspiring. Then I also read into Mozart, Tchaikovsky, Bethooven, Debussy, then
the great Philosophers Emmanuel Kant, St Augustine, Marx, Jefferson and so forth
and so on.

It is a shame that most kids these days don‟t like to read or have not developed
a love for reading. Whenever I go to an internet café, nearly all I see kids do is play
video games. Not that there is anything wrong with it but it seems like it‟s all they do. It
conveys to me that reading is a bore and it‟s better to just have fun and games. They
are over-stimulated and before long storytelling is boring. When I was a kid, our Grand
Aunt Lola Angge would tell us stories. This was her way to share the oral tradition of
our family. We would sit down on the floor and with a smile she would tell her stories in
the late afternoons. It was a great way to just simply sit down and listen and perhaps
these days listening is not being practiced as often. Reading is in fact listening. We get
to absorb the mind of a great writer and get into their soul by the message they bring.
And if we are patient enough, we get to be touched by their ending.

Nowadays, it‟s all about information. It‟s all these piles and piles of bubble gum,
Pop culture and voluminous amounts of data. Young people these days know
everything and yet they seem to know nothing. Why? Because they can‟t make sense
of it. It‟s not in a coherent fashion. It is overwhelming because they are pounded daily
by it. And then they get lost in a sea of information. They desperately want connection,
sense and meaning and all they get is the salty sea. Water, water, everywhere and not
a drop to drink. And before long they are poisoned by it, so stir crazy and then they
break down. Information overload. Nosebleed. Who is going to make sense of all this

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information? Who will share the narrative in a manner that brings purpose and
direction?

My Ateneo childhood friend and New Manila neighbor Roberto Bobby Jose and
I used to talk a lot about narratives when we were both in Northern Virginia a few years
ago. Bobby is a deep person. He can articulate the art of storytelling and the „Power of
the Narrative‟. I was fascinated by his description of a storyteller and listened to him
intently. He influenced me as I moved from being a savvy techie/telecom businessman
to now being a storyteller of Taal. He was really just sharing his experiences but I
found his advice so useful. Find the essential story, the narrative and be moved by it.
And then share it. That‟s it. That‟s what I am doing in Taal. I dug into the history of the
town and region and out of the facts I discovered, I put it in chronological order and
then I saw the diamond in the rough and I was blown away by the power of its
narrative. I then became the town‟s storyteller.

And we need storytellers so desperately these days. I for one am thankful to


Carlos Celdran for starting this movement. He so loved his city, he could not help
telling its story. And that is so moving really. I came into storytelling serendipitously.
There is that word again. It keeps haunting me. StoryTelling really started more like a
hobby, just to pay the maintenance and upkeep of the Ancestral house in Taal . . . and
now it‟s going crazy. It now has a life of its own. I feel like I am cooking popcorn. Just
apply enough heat and passion and then you hear the soulful corn kernels popping
one by one and then it is popping everywhere. I am having back-to-back to back tours
and I am becoming paos or hoarse just sharing the epic story of Taal . . . and they
keep coming back for more. It‟s like people are so thirsty for this. So desperate for
connection to who they are. They cannot get enough of it. They are moved and
inspired by it.

I find it essential to tell the story of our people because it is so compelling. I do


not do it in an exclusive manner like this is just a Taaleno story but I tell it inclusively.
The story of Taal is the story of the Filipino and it is true everywhere because whatever

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we went through there, the Filipino in general goes through it as well. And yet I tell it
like an easy narrative. Kwento kwento lang. Share share away with some emphasis in
between. And in this journey of discovering a story, I find the soul of the awesome and
mind-blowing Filipino. I have shared who we are here in FB from time to time. And I
am moved by his story. I am moved how epic and heroic his journey is. I am so proud
to be called a Filipino kasi we are so special. We are like the horse „Secretariat‟ in the
Belmont Stakes. Just as no one came close to beating this horse, no other nation even
comes close to our heart. We leave them all behind with the epic and legendary
narrative of our stories and we have these epic stories every year as we battle Mother
Nature. And the best of all, they are not myths at all. They are historical facts and there
is such power when these facts are revealed and told because these stories connect
our people to our land and how magnificent they are. They then start remembering
who they are and they leave empowered, inspired, healed, moved and energized.

And I wish more of our people would tell these heritage stories of who we are. I wish
they would open their historic homes and give it a rip. Just tell the stories of their
families, their histories, their experiences. All they have to do is believe in the
substance of their stories kasi they are so amazing. We tell the story of epic resilience,
of a faith that silences volcanoes, a never-say-die bravery that is beyond Mt. Olympus,
a spirit that melts even the great Greek and Roman warriors. Our stories here are so
grand. It is Moses and the parting of the Red Sea grand… Our battle is not so much
against flesh and blood but against Earthquakes, volcanoes and vicious typhoons. And
in the middle of all that is a people, so beaten up, so torn apart, so ruthlessly whipped
again and again and yet so tender, so beautiful, so heart-breakingly sweet, sacrificial,
loving and noble. I can go on and on and I start to weep for I am so touched.

I tell the stories because I want the Filipino people to know who they are. I want
them to rally around their flag and see that they are not slaves. They are not second or
third class citizens. They are not Alipins. They are warriors and heroes and noble
peoples. The best in class anywhere in the world. We are Gold medal Olympians and
the silver winner is not even close. But for our Filipino to be aware of this, we must

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plug and connect them to their land and touch them with our stories of battles with the
earth, sea, water and wind and how we have overcome them all. To us battling nature
is just another day at the office but to another people and nation it‟s the Apocalypse.
We are not the most emotional people on earth for nothing. We are emotional because
we feel each day as it comes. We live in the knife edge of death and despair and yet
we don‟t fall under. We are all ferocity and passion and no one can come close to
compare our diamond soul.

Filipino... Itago mo yan sa bato. Punyeta! Walang tatalo sa iyo! So be Great you
Pinoy, you! Huwag ka mahiya. Ipakita mo kung sino ka because You Are so
Beautiful!!!! And the world needs to hear your stories because they need your loving
and overcoming character and soul! And as we engage in this process, may we
appreciate who we are as a people, as a free republic and nation. May we love, lift up,
dignify and do the best for each other because we are all in this together.

So hear hear Filipino Story Teller!! Come forth! We need you now! I call you to seize
your day. I call you to come round and make your way front and center. You are the
Articulate Sentinel of our nation. You guard our heart, empower it and give it purpose.
You are the Evangelist of our customs, culture and traditions. You make us fierce, so
we can love our country more and defend it against our enemies. You give us context
to our national and historical experience. You give us wisdom, understanding,
meaning. You share our IDENTITY. You make it come together. So, Show up. Rise up!
Speak up! Go to the towns and barrios. Spread out! Be that narrative of Filipino
substance. Find your essential Filipino stories and „light up the darkness‟. Share your
enlightenment to a people that needs it. Be the trumpet and the clarion call. Rally your
people to the POWER of their NARRATIVE and may they be proud of who they are
because You..... Are...... There!

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The Vanishing of the Pinoy Man

By Pio Goco at the Goco Ancestral House, Taal (May 17, 2015)

I have heard through various news reports and people around me that the ratio
of women to men in this country is 3:1 if not 4:1. It‟s a veritable Amazon women's land
out here. Now before all the men of the world come round here to even the score, let‟s
find out why this is happening. Well, a lot of the men are actually going out as OFW's.
That's kinda obvious. Men need to work and since they can't find work here, they go
overseas to do it. The men that stay here can't find work and end up drinking and idling
their days off and if there is anything that's hard to do, its aimlessly doing nothing, with
no purpose, much like zombies floating and eating then sleeping, then soon enough
dying. Laziness is much the rule here than the exception. We were once coined
'Indolent' because it seemed all we liked to do was hang out all day and drink our life
away. We like our San Miguel Beer, our Ginebra San Miguel Gin and our Virgin of San
Miguel Street near Burgos in Makati. It's the union of Beer Gin and Virgin: Our unholy
Trinity. But of course, if we subject our body to this daily abuse, eventually the body
gives way because that is not how life should be lived. And our men are mostly either
victims or willing enablers of this dynamic.

Once they do find work, it‟s not easy either. It‟s back breaking work in the fields
and the city. It can be harsh with long hours and low pay. Furthermore, it doesn't help
any that we seem to be mostly simple minded. Sometimes too simple not to mention
feminine. Being a man in the Philippines can be hard simply because the emphasis
here is mostly Marian. Even our proud Ateneo GS and HS, an exclusive school for
Boys pays tribute to Mary.. 'Mary for you... for your white and blue.. We pray you keep
us Mary'. It glorifies and edifies the female attributes and feminizes the males around
here. No offense to my Alma mater. Why can't we glorify St. Ignatius and sing 'San
Ignacio laban ni Kristo' during our fight fight fight songs? And of course, there is the
Fundador song.. 'Fundador Soys Ignacio General'... Tsong, huwag ka nang malalim

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mag-isip. Mag-Fundador ka na lang! Ayun tepok! Then of course we have Pacman
who is our Alpha male of the moment. Yeah Pacman is a gentle warrior but most of our
men don't like to fight but would rather kiss ass for a living. That's how they move up.
There are a few warrior men but there are more nag memen(or) lang. Ni hindi
nakatikim nang 5th gear. So imagine the spirit of the men here. They are broken and
before long, broken men turn to drinking and they are gone by the time they hit 50.

Which leaves us with these wonderful abundance of women. Someone even


said to me that in the countryside it is 14:1. Holy Moly, all these women everywhere in
all shapes and sizes, longing. Because there is a dearth of men, even young women
are going for men with wives and old geezers just to get some, just to be able to know
and feel like a woman. If you are a warm blooded man in his prime, then 'Ikaw Na' or
'Eh di Wow'! Not to mention that the nice looking men may not exactly be men if you
know what I mean, and there are many of them. It has gotten so tilted in favor of men,
that women are not even interested in all the ideal attributes of men, just as long as
you are a real man and you actually desire women, puwede na yan. This is where it‟s
happening. Party party in the house tonight ... Let‟s have a gud gud gud time.. Yeah
whatever.

It is the vanishing of the Filipino male. They are not moving up and over. As a
matter of fact, it‟s been said, it‟s much harder to raise a man out here. I fit that profile
too. I remember when I was younger. I developed island fever. It‟s that sense where
you feel trapped and there is no way out. You go any direction, you will hit the sea and
since you can't swim long distances, you can't go anywhere and you go stir crazy. I
needed to get out of here and find myself in the noise and din. I needed to go out and
see the world, find perspective and context to my existence. I desperately wanted to
get out of Dodge and I did. Thank God I did. For 16 years out I did. I could sense a lot
of our men perhaps need that but they don't have the resources to afford it. So they
are trapped in Paradise in a meaningless existence, their spirits forever stunted and
before long they accept their fate, get comfortable with it, go with the flow and die. It‟s
quite a cruel existence if you ask me. Being powerless is such a bitch. It‟s like a

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kalapati that can't fly so they end up flying low then they hit the electric poles and there
they go.

We have much to do before we become a true warrior culture. Maybe we should


win a medal in the Olympics. Any medal will do just as long as it‟s a male Pinoy doing
it. I mean, how long has it been since we even got one? Yeah brave and bold male
leadership and example will help, but really its how do you free the Filipino male soul
and spirit? How do you make him whole? Some would say Jesus the Man is the
answer. Yes I agree. He does make the broken complete. Now if we can only take
Religion out of it.. but really it's the heart's yearning that we need to listen to. Man is
meant to soar and exert himself, to feel and experience the wonderful huge wild world
and go on adventures, take initiative and go achieve his potential. What we are short of
in athleticism, we can make do with heart and soul. We need a standard to follow, then
do it and the hell with the margin of error. Make mistakes and keep making them til you
get it right... but mistakes are expensive but men need that.

Men need a bright male light on top of Mount Banahaw so they can feel like
men, like virile protectors and super heroes. And it‟s not about size at all. Look at Jose
Rizal our hero. He was of a small human existence. Barely even 5 feet in height in real
life but in stature, like that statue of his in Calamba, Laguna, over 3 stories tall.
Perhaps like MJ, let‟s be like JR. Makata, mapagmahal sa bayan at kapwa,
sophisticated, brilliant, multi-talented, a full blown Renaissance Man. The risk is, we
can get shot if we are so let's grow as many of them so they can't shoot us all. And
that's what I wish for our men so we can level the playing field around here. Otherwise,
there will be many beautiful and lonely Pinay women out there and that's not good
because they do deserve a good man, a good Filipino man, if they can get one. So ano
Proud Pinoy man, you up for it? No pun intended.

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We Are All Equal in Our Rights and Wrongs!

By Pio Goco at the Goco Ancestral House (April 25, 2015)

With all this attention lavished on Pacman leading up to his fight with
Mayweather, I am glad we are now getting the attention we deserve in the world
stage. Not only for his glory in boxing but for our cuisine, our tourism, our BPO
businesses, our culture and more. For so long, the Philippines seemed like a
backwater place everyone skipped. You go to Asia and totally overlook our
archipelago because nobody cared what happened around here. Part of it was our
fault. The word on us was we were hopelessly corrupt, inefficient, infantile, regressive,
almost a failed state and poverty was the rule rather than the exception. Those
problems are still present but there is now a different flavor.

Perhaps in the course of the 30-year experiment with Democracy, we have


gained a new found confidence in our identity, capabilities, talents and abilities. Yes
we haven't quite reached our promised land but we are at least close to getting there.
The culture has changed as well. Before, when foreigners came to our shores, we
would stare at them in awe and saw them always as better than us indio islanders.
Whatever they said was affirmed by us because they looked like Gods and they knew
better. Our colonial mentality also partly made us victims of our own bad decisions.
We deferred to them. We thought the foreigner had our best interest in mind but we
found out that wasn't true. Perhaps we can associate this also with the idols we prop
up and worship. If you go to nearly all our heritage Catholic churches and basilicas,
our venerated saints and idols always looked foreign with Caucasian features. They
had the look of Marlon Brando, Sean Connery or Charlston Heston. Our Santo Nino
looks like an impish white kid with blue eyes. Mama Mary looked like Audrey Hepburn.
The Apostles look like the distinguished Knights of the Scottish round table and Jesus
looks like Richard Harris aka King Arthur. It's quite subliminal but very effective. The
Gods looked so different from our brown complexion. So when foreigners came in, we

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gave them our land, our homes, opened our gardens and gave them our women. It‟s
like being touched by the Gods when they favored us. Of course they were not Gods
so we ended up being exploited and abused by them.

But lately not anymore. I myself don't think like that as I grew up and saw the
world with my own eyes. I now consider all foreigners my equal. Their racial features
and presence do not intimidate me. I can look at them eye to eye. I can slice and dice
them as much as they can me. I don't defer to them and neither should anyone of us
do so just because we are Filipino. We treat them well and we are hospitable but heck
if they misbehave, we let them have it.

I was once in Strumms listening to a band play with my dear friend Teddy Y.
Montelibano and there was this boisterous American dude in front of us that was just
too loud and too disruptive. I politely warned him to be a bit more courteous since
there are other people trying to enjoy the evening but he kept at it. Perhaps he was
drunk but he was rude so I let him have it. I basically came up to him and said please
shut up and maybe I shoved him. Of course, it created a bit of a ruckus but I really
didn't care. I was going to remind him to be more respectful or get out of my country.
And he sorta calmed down but really, we should never allow them to step over us.
And that to me is progress and a sea change in attitude. And we can all do it.
Especially in negotiations, when we see them as equals, we can get a fair deal
because we simply will not let their blue eyes, skin color, noble bearing and dazzling
smile charm us.

Listen they are not Gods. They are just like us. They can also be as selfish,
depraved and corrupt like us. We are not inferior. As a matter of fact, in many respects,
we maybe superior. So protect and stand for yourself. Hold your ground, don't blink
and say I have every right to be here as much as they do. For God created ALL men
and women equal. So don't tread on me or else you will hear it.

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And perhaps when they see this, we can say we belong as a nation worthy of
being called global citizens, worthy of being accorded every respect as a human being,
a worthy competitor, a true equal, deserving of dignity and high honor, a Filipino.

An Open Letter to Renaissance Man, Manny Pacman

By Pio Goco at the Goco Ancestral House (April 16, 2015)

Well Manny Pacman may be a Renaissance Man of many gifts and talents, but
please don't make the mistake of running for President. Try to follow Dolphy's sage
advice when he was asked to run.. and say.. well what happens if I win? Yeah we
know politics in the Philippines is about popularity and currently, you are the most
popular man in the country. But please don't let that make you think you can do
anything. You certainly have not proven yourself in Congress where you currently lead
all Congressmen in number of absences. Perhaps there is a good reason for those
absences but really how much more can you spread yourself before it becomes really
thin? Yeah focus on fighting Mayweather and bringing not only glory to yourself but
also to your country. Playing Pro Basketball is a farce. You can never ever be great
there so why even be a player in it? Just buy the team.. actually you did and try to run
it in an excellent manner. Maybe win a Championship or two? That will buy you even
more respect which is a wonderful thing.

We all know the Superbowl of all boxing matches is coming up on May 2. If you
win this match, there could be a rematch and perhaps even a trilogy. This could well
be the biggest thing ever in boxing, approaching a cool Billion per man in USD
earnings when it's all said and done. With money like that, you can perhaps buy an
island or two or three. Heck you can perhaps afford to buy your own city or country.

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And maybe just maybe, you can be President of all of it.. since after all you own it. Not
bad for a kanto boy who was born into poverty. You found a niche and you maximized
it and now look where you are. You have achieved your Filipino dream and more. You
have reached a human potential only few will reach in their lifetime. When I met you
over a month ago, you seemed very amiable, always available and armed with a ready
smile. You seemed humble and kind although word in the street is you are too kind
which may be a liability later on especially when you are no longer earning those big
purses. There is a concern you may not be able to keep your wealth and invest it
properly. Out of your great compassion, you end up spending it wantonly if not giving it
away. At any rate, you certainly have qualities few possess. You have a commanding
presence that catches attention. I was starstruck. You were hands down the center of
attraction.

But politics is more than just being popular. It‟s about knowing Political
Principles and Philosophies and theories of governance. It‟s about knowing History,
Sociology, Social Psychology, Economics, Human Resource Management, Political
Science and all the other arts and sciences including the constitution and the law. It‟s
about historical context and knowing where we are in our country's pilgrimage leading
to our promise as a people. It‟s about seeing the big macro picture and a desire to get
into the micro devil in the details. It's about crafting effective initiatives and executing
excellent ideas. It‟s about balancing idealism and pragmatism, understanding human
nature and how to manage many special interests and agendas. It‟s about showing
persistent character, belief and setting priorities. It‟s about being intelligent and yet
being intuitive. It‟s about strategy and creating brilliant policy that is inclusive of all of
us. It‟s about solving poverty, finding dynamics for long term prosperity, vision for
country, managing international relations plus more, much more. Governing a country
is an art as much as it is a science. There is a dynamic at play here and to be effective,
you need to have wisdom and impeccable judgement to comprehend it and change it
for the better. It takes a lifetime of study and experience to understand it. It takes
BRAVE inspired LEADERSHIP and innate skills in the art of politics not to mention a

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thick skin and a clear direction. There are many challenges and it's really not for
someone who didn't have much of a formal education.

Notwithstanding this, there is much respect for you Pacman. You are the man.
You have gone as far as you can with what you have and you desire to help your
country because you yearn for something better for them. You are a man of passion
and drive to be excellent. You have fought the good fights and overcome. There are
many causes you can engage in but please don't run for President, rather be its voice
as Statesman aspiring for noble things of your countrymen. There are much more able
bodied and intelligent people who can do this President thing. You can certainly
support and endorse them. Win one for legacy and history, fight for your country. Then
come home and be merry. Be a good man of the faith and family. Be the sports legend
who has met his destiny. Love your country. Just don't run for President and risk folly
and enmity. Don't let your ego and the voices of ambitious sycophants manipulate you.
Your charmed life could be the equivalent of a life of 20 eh humirit ka pa, busted tuloy.
Pera na naging bato pa kasi 'akala' mo kaya mo ito. Hindi pala. So I hope you don't
risk your legacy for a quixotic quest of political glory.

Wishing you well Emmanuel 'Manny' Pacquiao.

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A Parody of The Mad First Quarter Storm of 2015

By Pio Goco at the Goco Ancestral House, Taal (April 9, 2015)

Ok it‟s been a wild ride so far in the homeland in the year of the buckling sheep.
Let me see if i can make sense of the nonsense of it all. Here is a recap in no
particular order...

Let‟s start with China which has 9 dashed and annexed our Spratley Islands
and is building God knows what there. We have also discovered that Malaysia is the
hidden hand in the invasion of the not so sexy MILF's in Mindanao. It also turns out
that our peace negotiators Deles and Ferrer have developed Stockholm Syndrome and
are hypnotically in love with Dick Dasterdly Dual Iqbal's long shot peace proposal. In
the meantime, in Malacanang Palace, our oblivious, so honest, What-me-Worry
President cannot seem to understand command responsibility and territorial
sovereignity but once 4pm hits, can't resist escaping into Tekken's bosomy Josie Rizal
while mumbling BBL, BBL, BBL and Lord knows what else he's doing with Binibining
Universe ober der... Well at least he is happy while his popularity goes south of the
border.

While over at the House of Chaos este Commons este Lords pala, napitas na
ang SAFrutas ni Napenas at nawala na ang Puri ni Alan Purisima dahil sa kanyang
sobrang pambobola. Advise advise ka pa diyan! Manigas ka! Doon naman sa ating
central financial district, si sobrang power hungry at itchy-makati na Darth Bi Nosi
Balasi at si Boy JunJun Hoodlum achieved a miracle and managed to get a reprieve
from the COA to stay as...Mayor Buffoon! While Mayor Erap naman in Manila, Wow,
puwede pa pala siya? Eh diba malinaw na bawal na siya sa Political office kasi nga na-
conditional pardon siya? Oy Diyos Ko! Ako ay gulong gulo.. Diba, Tang I.... Sino ba
Sila.

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At doon naman sa Camp Crame, si Tanda, Sexy at si Pogi ay nagpapahaba
nang....Buhok while attending graduations and hanging out in airconditioned jail cells
with US Marine Pemberton who killed a man pretending to be a woman pretending to
be almost married to a German who for a time couldn't leave the country kasi kasi..
Anak ng Napoles naman! Pera pera lang yan! At doon naman sa Bilibid Prison
Vacation Destination, it‟s more fun in the Philippines to be a convicted felon kasi u can
create platinum hit music in the pleasure of your own hidden jacuzzi cum recording
studio with a 5-piece band even.. Ang kawawa ay si Superfriend Sec. De Lima who
seems to be everywhere at the same time except when Da Ampatuan is posting bail..
Does she even get any sleep? Go get em Leila! We love you Darna!

And all this is happening while we enjoy over 6 percent per annum skyrocketing
economic growth, second only to China while nearly everyone is poor and eating
Yaya's meals and pagpag chicken on the side. And speaking of Yaya's meals, in
Balesin, the playground of the rich and famous, did I hear right that a POOR Senator
got hitched with Helen of Troy with nearly every oligarch attending? Anyare sa conflict
of interest, bawal na influence peddling and lovey dovey advertising before
campaigning sa EDSA SCTEX and NLEX? Prrt! Tsong! Tatakbo ka bang VP?

And of course ang ating magaling na Simbahan. 2015 na Bossing! Tayo na lang
at ang Vatican ang naniniwala sa Annulment na hindi naman ma annul. Ano ito,
lokohan? Well at least we did see Papa Francis around here.. Makita lang siya at si
DongYan, OK na. In the meantime, ang kawawang OFW natin, padala nang padala
nang pera sa bayan na hindi naman nagmamalasakit sa kanilang kahirapan. Gusto
pang gatungan. Sila na nga lang ang matinong mag-isip at nagsasakripisyo para sa
bayan, gulpi pa, kulungan at exploitation ang abot nila sa Middle East, HK, Singapore,
Indonesia atbpang sukdulan. Ganyan ang pagmamahal natin sa Balikbayan.
DamJaMich!

Welcome to PeNoy's World in Wonderland or is that Panot-cracy's Yellow


Neverland, where logic escapes us, nothing is what it seems and we are ruled by

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Pinoy Mafia families, Teleserye at Pantasya Ng Bayan while nearly everyone acts like
chickens with their heads cut off and our leaders are pormatic twisted yemas cum
chocfulofnuts. Who will deliver us from this clear and present brown nosed madness?
What political philosophy governs in our beautifully baliw shores? For we are locked in
Philippine Democrazy's inglorious basterd moments during the season of the 4th blood
moon. It is Col. Kurtz's 'Apocalypse Now' happening where Global warming and
climate change hits us in the gut in the Summer of 2015. It is the land of anything
goes, natural disasters, massacres masquerading as misencounters, pointing fingers
alongside pearls of the orient and Bayang Magiliw na puro panandali ang aliw..

Sinong dakila? Sino ang tunay na baliw? Sino ang magaling? Sino ang hope
natin? Sige tumakbo kayo Poe, Lacson and Duterte, huwag lang si Butete! Jack em
Poy ale ale oy be nimble, Boljack be quick, Cmon Pacman sic on Mayweather and run
for President while you're at it! Jolens! Paltik! Let's all short cut the candle stick! Gaya
Gaya puto maya.. Kopya nang Kopya.. Maya maya nandiyan na naman sila..
Garapalang bastusan ang mga walang hiya. At bakit hindi? Intellectual property ko ito
Teh.. Cmon really? Not over here Koya... Over here, we simply can't resist eating the
duck that lays the golden balut....

And so all the kings horses and all the kings men trampled and abused Humpty
Dumpty Kamote Democracy totally in. Now if you will pardon me, give me a moment
lang while I drink my medication and pull my scalp apart na rin! And BTW, that just the
first quarter of this year in Paradise! Wow! Arrrrghhh!!! Really?? Only in the Pelepynes.
Hay Saya! Deba?

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Hail to the Malilibogs!

By Pio Goco at the Goco Ancestral House, Taal (March 14, 2015)

Playing the Libog of Life - A Salute to All the Renaissance People Out There.
Let‟s talk about passion. I have heard people say we need to bottle it. I am of the
opinion we need to pop that cork and channel it. Passion is the zest, the lust for life,
aka libog sa buhay. The very word 'libog' might be too in your face but there is no
better word to express it. I love passionate people because they are all in. They
believe in what they are doing. They devote themselves to their craft and the finished
product shows. You can never compete against passionate people because to them
work is like play. They move in an entirely different paradigm. It's the difference
between Mozart and Salieri in the movie 'Amadeus'. Mozart creates inspired music
while playing whereas Salieri merely plods along working. When work becomes play
then it starts transcending into something profound, moving and compelling.

Look at MJ. Yes the man worked his ass off to take command of his skill so he can
become a great basketball player but when he was on the court, he was 'playing' the
game and that's what we need to get. Passionate people 'play'. They don't work. And
when they start playing, then they become great. Look at Yo Yo Ma, the uber violinist.
Watching him play a baroque violin or cello concerto is sheer work of art. You think he
is working music? No, he is playing it. He is just letting himself go in the flow, living the
moment, in the zone of his gift.

A lot of people are curious how come a person who is successful can work so
many long hours. Well have you ever considered they weren't really working, just
playing? And when they play, they become very productive, creative, they bloom and
soar and it's beautiful to watch and they can do it all day and night. It's infectious. It's
amazing. How can you compete with that? Great artists express themselves with no
reservations. They are in the moment. They take command of their gifts and just play.
They have found their niche and they have libog aka desire for life.

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So learn and find your passion, your gift so you can then stop working, be a
Renaissance man or woman like Michelangelo and Georgia o'Keefe and go play!

I Am A Radical For Democracy

By Pio Goco at the Goco Ancestral House, Taal (March 10, 2015)

I love my God-kissed beautiful country. I came home for good reason so I can
be part of the solution instead of be part of the problem. I am aware of the back
stabbing, twist-the-story culture and the sycophancy. It is beautiful and yet it is
defensive, hurt and at times quite bitter. There is a victim mentality brought about by
centuries of an oppressive and perverted form of feudal colonialism that has made us
think we are lesser than others and made us out to be victims. W...ell I am not a victim
and I refuse to be a victim. We can learn from our past and heal it. We can choose to
do better. We can grab hold of a progressive vision for people and country for I am
convinced without a shadow of a doubt, we can do better than the brokenness of the
past and the hobbled political system of today. I am convinced in the goodness of the
heart of the Filipino. I love his tender deep soul brought about by longing, suffering and
sacrifice. The OFWs‟ constant support of their own, in good times and bad proves
that. We are steadfast in faith, hope and love. We are a good, kind, patient, tolerant
and decent people led by now corrupted, gamed and obsolete dynamics. It is time to
change this dynamic to a better one and we will. So help us God.

I am a radical for Democracy. I want what Cory introduced in this country to


work but for it to work better, we need to revise and update it in line with the times.
Almost 30 years after the EDSA People Power Revolution which brought in a seed of

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Freedom, the tree of liberty has grown and now it is time to bring in Philippine
Democracy 2.0. Federalism is the natural evolution leading towards a more fruitful and
perfect version of it. I desire peace in our land and a more responsive government. I
desire a Democracy that serves the people not the other way around. There is no
better system of government that realizes the potential of man than the Democratic
system of government. It is the responsibility of our enlightened intellectuals to find
those balanced egalitarian solutions and via their ideas, lead us to that place of
promise where more of us benefit. My deep desire is for Filipino talent and creativity to
bloom all over the archipelago so there will be many opportunities in our country
derived out of it. These opportunities will take more of our beloved fellow Filipinos out
of poverty so they too can dream big dreams and achieve it. The wonderful idea of
Democracy and a better version of it for the Philippines and the Filipinos is my goal.
This is my dream. This is our time. Let freedom ring! Let's make it happen!
Awwuuuu!!!!

Reflections on the Philippines‟ Over 6% Economic Growth

By Pio Goco at the Goco Ancestral House, Taal (March 5, 2015)

While the growth of the Philippine economy is nothing to sneeze at and is in fact
commendable, when you tally it with the latest Inclusiveness report of NEDA, you can
see that it has barely touched the greater masses and efforts to alleviate poverty.
What is happening here is there is a great amount of life-giving rain falling on a small
part of our country while the rest is parched desert with little or no irrigation. Of course
it has been said that the Philippines is the #1 country that will benefit from low oil
prices but has this actually created better paying jobs for the people that need it? In
the meantime, the OFW phenomenon continues unabated. There are 10M of them out

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there now working in foreign lands. Think about that. In a nation of 100M, they
support 50M or 50% of us since there is an average of 5 people per household. And
yet despite this outward escalating trend of OFW work, we still have one of the highest
if not the highest unemployment rates in ASEAN and the Asian region at 26% and let's
not even discuss underemployment.

What is clear from the numbers is Philippine overseas labor via remittances is
the single biggest contributor to our country's growth. It is their sacrifice that makes
this country look like it is doing so good. But with these revenues comes heavy social
costs. The Filipino family is being broken apart. Children are growing up without their
fathers or mothers because they are forced to work in foreign lands mostly as second-
class citizens. We have not even begun to seriously study the long term implications
of prolonged absence of OFW parents and how it impacts the growth and maturity of
their children.

Now consider the BPO sector. I certainly admire its growth. I won't even
criticize it. They bring good wages to our young folks. It‟s not exactly a job you can
sustain in the long run because of the wear and tear of working the night shift but it
really helps. I would also consider manufacturing and farm exports. The growth in
those sectors is most helpful too. But for the significant help of the OFW economy, our
numbers could not be as high. It is perhaps half or more of our over 6% growth right
there. But don't clap just yet. There is a pervasive problem in the land. Many citizens
are forced out of here because they can never find jobs good enough to feed their
families. There is barely any middle class because they are mostly working in foreign
lands. In the meantime, because of remittances and the consumption economy it
generates, the few oligarchs are living it up. Actually, I don't fault them for making so
much money. I just wish more of us can be more successful instead of a few lording it
over us. I wish a larger number of our citizens are benefitting.

Now how can this happen? Well we need capital to set up a business and we
need capital to flow here to bring rain to the parched desert areas. Is protectionism the

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answer? Well I certainly want Filipino companies to benefit. But history shows that
Protectionism only brought fewer opportunities and not more. If you feel your internet
is slow and you find that customer service sucks and it seems like wages are
persistently low and you are now a second or even third class citizen in your own
country, there is a direct correlation to these situations to the paradigms of
Protectionism. Am I for liberation of the economy to bring in foreign investors? To a
certain extent. yes. We need their capital. I just don't want them to overcome us and
suddenly we are like an expat colony again of the Spanish, Americans or the Chinese.

Actually, we already are an expat colony of the Chinese. Have you seen our
Fortune 50 top richest men in the Philippines? With the exception of the Ayala Group,
Manny Villar and the Razon family, they are nearly all Chinese. So much for the
Protectionism ideal. At any rate, we can certainly benefit from the competition that
results from liberalizing our economy since we haven't won an Olympic medal around
here for so long. So what then is the mid-point solution? If we become Federal
perhaps let the states determine their own economic destiny. To those states that feel
a Nationalist economy is the solution, let them go for it. To those states that think only
FDIs can work, get on to it. A mixture of both? So be it. Then let it play out in the
National competitive marketplace and let's see whose economic theory wins in the
long run.

The point of the matter is, POVERTY must be defeated. This economy must
include more of us in it to give it soundness and credibility. We are certainly not
admired or set as an excellent example of a culture of life in the global community if
most of us are wallowing in exploitation and poverty. Therefore, we must not allow our
human resource capital to be squandered. The Filipino human potential, his creativity
and drive to succeed, is the capital that brings immense work opportunities. The
Filipino individual can be harnessed for prosperity. His promise can be realized and
maximized for nation building. Can Poverty be defeated by the current dynamics we
are in? Sadly I don't think so. Imperial Manila can't do everything and neither can the
oligarchs. Poor people in the far countryside simply cannot wait forever in a passive

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manner so their regions can also bloom. Why do you think there is so much angst in
Mindanao? But again, over 6 percent growth is nothing to sneeze at, which is if you
like chewing bubble gum.

The Nature of the Glass

By Pio Goco at the Goco Ancestral House (February 27, 2015)

I have often wondered about the nature of the half-empty and half-full glass.
Why do some people see the same glass as half-empty and yet some see it half-full?
Here is an example. I have friends who say the Philippines is so inefficient, it's so
frustrating, they are outta here! And yet some say the Philippines is so inefficient but
let‟s stay put or let‟s go there because in inefficiency, there is great opportunity! We
tend to criticize situations and say it‟s not good enough, but consider... perhaps the
reason it's not good enough is because it needed your hand and your input? I have
had people come to me and say, “My life is a failure. I never had opportunities.”
Actually, that's not true. They have always had opportunities but their poor attitude
blinded them from seeing them. They always looked at life as half-empty and so it
was.

Perhaps the key is a 'Philosophy of Life', to choose to see that the glass is half-
full, to change a negative perception to a positive one. I was not always positive. I
mean, I have met so many failures and experienced so much pain, what gives me
justification to even be positive? But somewhere down the line, I did become more
optimistic. What changed for me to be that way? What made me stand up when it was
perfectly justified to just give up? I guess for me, it‟s the realization that death is not the
end. When Christ died on the cross and lived again, I saw there was hope for the

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human being. At that point everything changed. I mean, I still see the same things but
something inside me was no longer the same. There was a fundamental change in
perspective brought about by a change in philosophy, a change of heart, a belief in
something larger than me. The glass that was half-empty became half-full because I
met hope and this hope was not false. It was factual and tangible. It was loving. It
overcame failure, separation, despair, depression, death, disappointment and hurt.
And that has made all the difference.

Jim Paredes & The Changing of the Vanguard

By Pio Goco at the Goco Ancestral House, Taal (February 24, 2015)

What we are witnessing here is the inevitable retirement of the old guards. Jim
Paredes and the APO Hiking Society with Leah Navarro et al in the middle of it have
been vanguards in the Yellow Democracy. They were there from the inception of
Cory's rise and now they defend the last vestige of PNoy's fade-to-black faithful to the
very end. PNoy's term becomes the fitting bookend to a good long run.. From Cory in
1986 to PNoy in 2016, it will have been 30 years of the Aquino Democratic Era. And
when PNoy says goodbye in 2016, the era perhaps comes to a close. But even as it
ends, it also marks a new beginning of something different, hopefully something better
than it was or ever been. For sure, Jim Paredes and all the fading vanguards of this
period will be remembered for all the good things they represented. The songs of the
People Power Revolution, the march to EDSA, the freshness of a new Democracy
birthed after a toxic era of the Marcos Dictatorship.

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If there is a tad of mockery now due to Mr. Paredes's defense of the criticisms
leveled against the current President, no disrespect really. It is inevitable as it is
inexorable. It's just a sign of increasing obsolescence. But it is perhaps the natural
progression of history and things. For everything that was fresh and vibrant once upon
a time grows old and gives way to something new. And perhaps as we witness the
coming of the Post-Aquino Era, we look back and say. It was good while it lasted.
There are fond remembrances, but life goes on.

The next generation of vanguards are now helping bring about a more perfect,
more dynamic Democracy. And when that happens, history would record and give
fitting tribute to this 30 year Aquino period. Just as Joshua entered the promise land,
we could never come to comprehend and appreciate what happens next if not for the
wandering desert experience that came before it. And so, we remember the players.
We thank them and we wish them well. We honor them for their contributions, for
cherishing freedom and for persisting to keep us free. For it is in this base of liberty
that new ideas for building nation have propagated. As for Jim Paredes and the old
vanguards, I am sure you will all understand. You had your shining heyday in the sun.
You were young ones but now you are young once. Let it rest. Don't take offense. Let
it be. You have a legacy in Democracy. It is plain to see... The Times they are A-
Changin..

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Of Funerals & Parties

By Pio Goco at the Goco Ancestral House, Taal (January 10, 2015)

( NOTE: This is a repost on my reflection on death which I seem to hear more of


now than ever before. Over the New Year, my prior Boss in Washington, DC, Susan
Moorhead passed away. She was 52. Then Susan Calo Medina passed away
yesterday. Prior to that it was my Dad, August of 2014 and a few friends in Business
(Khaldoun, Ric) and other relations. It compelled me to write this reflection or insight
soon after my Dad passed on. Here it is below.)

*****************************

I was able to get a few hours of rest this afternoon after my Dad's burial.
Enough so I can write my first post-Dad note. Life moves on.. We can linger a little but
we need not stay in. Dad asks of us to live noble lives. Let's start now.

As we were having lunch with the family after the burial, I began mulling this
idea. "Of Funerals and Parties: Which is a better use of time?" With that subject being
said, let's get on with the rest of our lives…

There is a politician in Taal town that is called Consehal Patay. Apparently his
campaign strategy is to visit every wake or "lamay" in his municipality and in the midst
of grief, show support and understanding. Apparently, it is such an effective campaign
strategy that he has been elected as Counselor. Apparently, VP Binay does the same
lamay strategy as well. The man attends wakes like he attends strategic political
meetings and events. Which brings me to a point.

When it comes to building relationships, what is better to attend? Wakes or


parties? Before I answer that question I have noticed that when we are young, we are

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jampacked with parties, weddings and special occasions. Then when we get into our
middle years, more funerals happen and when we are old, it seems it happens every
other day. My Dad went to funerals of his friends and before long, he just could not go
to many anymore. It‟s like his friends were dying before him left and right. Grief and
eulogies were everywhere. Sadness makes the heart wiser but too much of it is kinda
depressing and it only reminds him that before long the bells will toll for him. So in that
respect, in his later years, he tried to pick the funerals which are a must to attend. But
what I see is basically the same. The happiness and bliss of parties in our youth seem
to be offset by burials in our mature years.

During the wake of my Dad, I had a few foreigner friends come and pay their
respects. One Greek friend says “I cannot understand yet the festive nature of Filipino
wakes. It seems there is a party. In my Grecian country, it‟s a serious matter and we
only do 2- day wakes tops.” Then I pondered, in Muslim countries it is one day and
they are done. In the US, three is tops. It‟s quite formal, scheduled, serious and sad. I
don't recall ever attending a funeral there that wasn't sad except perhaps when it's a
Pinoy funeral.

That's not even counting All Saints and All Souls Day. During these two days,
all Filipinos go to the cemetery to remember and celebrate their dead. The dead in the
Philippines can never ever be lonely because every year, the living descendants of
that dead person visited and Filipinos eat, party and dine around their crypts and
gravestones. That is a cultural phenomenon that really should be studied by behavior
specialists and Sociologists. To watch all these people crowding and picnicking in a
memorial park for a few days with all the craziness of a fiesta or a circus is quite
interesting. This is as close to festive as perhaps celebrating when Lazarus came out
of the grave. Frankly, I would rather see this cultural phenomenon as a celebration of
life and the wonderful memories created by that life as much as it‟s a remembrance of
the dead.

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Anyway, going back to the topic at hand. What is better, wakes or parties? Before I
answer that let me explain further why a Pinoy wake and funeral is different. It has its
mournful periods but it‟s largely festive. U see, Pinoys look at death differently. It's
more like we perceive the dead already in the other life so we celebrate the person
instead of giving in to too much grief. We know our relative is in heaven if they lived a
good life. Then again, it really depends on the family or the type of death, whether it is
sudden or sunset. But generally it is universally agreed that Pinoy wakes are quite
unique. Hmmm.. Unique quite does not get it all. It is fascinating as much as it is
mournful, Positive as much as painful.

When my brother Philip's wife Shela passed away a couple years back, we got
exposed to some of the customs of small town wakes. Apparently when there is a
wake in the Philippines, it is legal to gamble openly so the family can raise funds so the
dead can have a dignified burial. You can see these mahjong and black jack gambling
tables during wakes. They play all night beginning as the sun sets and whoever wins
the most, a good portion or share of the proceeds of the winnings goes to the person
hosting the wake. So the longer the wake, the more money is made to care for the
dead. So it‟s not entirely unreasonable to see 7 to10-day wakes. Fascinating really.
Dignity is an expensive commodity so it is necessary to do these gambling methods to
pay for dignity.

However, it‟s not really a standard to do 7 to 10-day wakes even though it


happens. Typically it‟s between 3-5 days. U see.. Filipinos want to sincerely mourn the
dead It's a form of letting go and they like to take time to do so. Some of them go to the
same funeral a few times just to soak it all in. This is a form of saying goodbye and
obtaining closure. Pinoys will never agree to a one-day wake. It‟s too quick. Closure
does not happen in a happenstance way. Rather in reflective prayer, in Masses and
songs, we can release the dead and pray for their souls.

So a one-day wake even though it happens is generally viewed suspiciously


when one is a Catholic. It is anathema to Pinoy culture to not give the friends and

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family enough time to grieve. So imagine if u did a one day wake? U will never be
forgiven for disrespecting the grief of the families and friends who wish to visit.
Besides, a good man who dies generally needs more time because everyone wants to
show their love and grief. Of course, not everybody can go to the wake at one time so
we need to accommodate those people in another day. So it is really a form of
consideration and courtesy to hold longer wakes. With exceptions to contagious
disease, if u even attempt to hold a one day wake here, people will be very suspicious.
Why the rush to bury? I swear to u, if u as a Pinoy Catholic will do this, the only result
is fighting and eventually exhumations because there is a fear u are hiding something.
So don't do it. And yet, the entire Muslim world practices this type of wake. No offense
to them but I guess they have a much different perception of death and life than we do.
Anyway… Let's move on.

In the Pinoy culture, if a man or woman is of modest accomplishment or stature,


it‟s a 3-day wake. If the man is great, it is 4 or 5. A great person needs a 4 or 5-day
wake to give time to those people from near and far to pay their respects. In a wake
like this, there is not only the family, but you will see friends galore staying, eating,
laughing, empathizing, sympathizing, bearing, remembering and drinking to their
hearts content. There are various necrological services and it‟s generally festive for as
much as it‟s mournful. There is food and drinks aplenty and hugs going around. Some
of these people may not have seen each other for years but for this wake, they all
show up.

Pinoys love to commiserate. They are natural empathizers and sympathizers. A


Pinoy wake is wonderful because the mood is light, almost celebratory and as I said,
quite festive. It gives chances for everybody to meet other people of the family's
network and sometimes, u meet new friends and even new mates. So is it not
surprising if a Politician can win merely by campaigning in wakes? It happens because
people's hearts are open. When it is, then the depth of pain also brings a new depth of
meaning and relationships. And there u have it. Yes parties bring fun and gaity. Yes,
go and spend time doing birthdays, baptisms and weddings. Fill yourself with glee. Go

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Party! But when it comes to building bonds and relationships, a wake is the best. It is a
singular sign of solidarity with the family when one attends a wake. It is basically
saying, we are with u in your grief and your suffering and that is a powerful thing.

Then add the grand flower wreaths. It‟s most powerful in its symbolism and
care. To be honest, we don't even know half of the politicians that sent flowers to my
Dad and some of them we even detest but you know despite that, there is a benefit of
a doubt given when a detestable politician sends flowers. I mean he can't be all that
bad can he, if he is able to send a wreath to my Dad. That's what u call grief politics
and frankly it‟s quite compelling. ( NOTE: We did get a few wreaths from national
politicians we detest. I was actually touched they sent flowers. For whatever their
reasons, they care for my Dad enough to send flowers. And that is plain and simple
good politics. One takes the time to care and give honor to the dead. Good politicians
should practice it because it really presents a compelling personal tribute. )

Anyway, this is getting long. Seymour might get upset. So back to the question
presented in the beginning. Which is better for relationship building? A wake or a
party? Grief or gaity? If I may make a modest suggestion, why not have both? I submit
to u that there is no better festivity than celebrating in grief. U see people laughing one
moment and then the next, they are weeping. U almost feel character and soul forming
in an environment like this. Much more for the hosts who are asked to stay strong
while all this fuss is going around. It is the mixture of the bitter and the sweet that
makes the heart complete. Eat your ampalaya as they say, so it will be well with u. But
definitely a wake is better to go, to make deeper friendships and lasting relationships.
Even more so when there is glorious food around and a little alcohol. It's all in there.
Like chicken soup for the soul. That's how u make friends for life.

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SECTION VI

OUR FEDERAL PHILIPPINES

From Colonial Imperial … to Federal

( PioGoco shared a post by and from “we lost the name of the source”
June 17, 2018, The Compiler )

A Federal form of government that departs from the colonial imperial control
dynamics of our past is perhaps the best fit for us. It respects the diversity of our many
distinct halo-halo races and cultures all over the archipelago as well as our Muslim
brothers and sisters in Mindanao. There are concerns about the perpetuation of
regional political dynasties in this type of system. That is noted but by giving executive
power to those dynastic powers to chart their economic destinies in the regions, they
are now 'ACCOUNTABLE'. It is this accountability factor and how fast or slow regional
countryside development happens that will force change either from outside its
regional borders or from within via free and fair elections.

Let me deviate a moment. Filipinos have an inherent propensity for Strongman


rule. As a matter of fact, a Democratic form of governance considering our entire
history is an aberration. Prior to Hispanization, it was the rule of tribal datus within their

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respective island regions. The Datu's power albeit via a council was top down
supreme. He is Poon aka Lord of all. He is sovereign of his tribe and region.
DatuLapulapu, DatuHumabon and DatuPuti were archtypes of these figures that
Magellan met when the Spanish landed in Mactan in 1521 up to Juan De Salcedo's
explorations in Luzon island from 1570 onwards.

During the Spanish Colonial period, the Datu system was centralized into
Manila with “one supreme Spanish Datu overlord” commanding and giving orders to
the regional “Spanish Datus”. Same dynamic but this time they were the Spanish Lords
reigning over an entire archipelago. This was unprecedented because prior to the
imposed redefinition of the entire Philippine islands chain which was named after King
Philip of Spain, it was just a group of islands with no imperial center of command and
control. It just wasn't the nature of regional datus to think that way. They would not
conceive of this archipelagic idea because they simply didn't have the capacity nor
capability to think this way much less achieve it. It was beyond them. They were
content with their 'to each their own' datudoms.

The Americans continued the imperial tradition of Spain when they started off
but they transitioned from Autocratic to Democratic over a period of time. It was only
after the 1935 Constitution that we really engaged into an American type democratic
system which we went full bore into after 1946 when we had our full independence.
This Democracy was then suspended by Marcos in 1971 and then reestablished in
1987 by Cory. Altogether this current system based on the 1987 Constitution is the
longest continuing run of Filipino Democratic self-rule EVER in our country's history.
The results speak for themselves because it retains its feudal imperial command and
control aspects til this day as vestiges of its colonial past.

Our Democracy is constantly assaulted by the dynamics of patronage politics as


is the ingrained habit and practice of the Datu style of governance and the imperial
colonial system instituted by the Spanish. The rule of the 'Strongman Father Figure' is
the natural state of law and order of the Filipino. It is in his DNA thru hundreds of years

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of prior history and tradition. A good strong man compels citizens to subdue their
personal interests for the common interests. Individual rights are de-emphasized in
exchange for community rights. As a trade off in this political exchange, the strongman
in turn pursues the interest of the entire community and when the Datu doesn't, a turn
over eventually happens and that Datu loses power to be replaced by another.

Datu Strongmen need to project strength, wisdom and power. They cannot be
perceived as weak. They must use their power and political will purposefully for the
greater good to be accorded respect. Otherwise it's every man for himself and the
Datu is relentlessly second guessed. There is little progress. The Datu tribal culture
looks inward. It is naturally suspicious of forces outside its domain. It only did business
with those cultures outside of it. That happened for centuries. When the Philippines
became one country, Regionalism was suppressed for the sake of Nation. The idea of
a national Filipino identity had its seeds in 1570 when Miguel Lopez De Legaspi
started colonizing the Philippines as one. That seed bore fruit in the Philippine
revolution of 1898 when our national flag was raised in Kawit, Cavite. The continuation
of that is our present independent state. However when Spain started imposing its will
on the Philippines, to rule over a nation of distinct tribes with no national identity,
'Divide and Conquer' was the strategy used by our Colonial masters.

Whereas our Colonialists used this strategy to overpower us and pursue their
colonial special interests, our current President also uses this Divide & Rule strategy to
pursue our common national interests. He puts out ruses and fireworks to distract the
reactionary special interests who bite into it. While they are busy focusing on surface
issues and gets them out of position, he works to pursue his primary agenda. In this
strategy, he uses our inherent insular character weakness as strength. DU30 is a
Strongman which strongly appeals to our voter base. He wants to be perceived as a
Datu like Marcos. But he is also a believer in Democracy not like Marcos. So being
perceived as a Patriotic Strongman for a Federal Democracy is his template. That is
his third way that breaks the mold.

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Federalism and the decentralization of Executive Datu power which is a remnant of
Imperial colonialism is his ultimate goal. This is his goal so that economic policy can be
legislated regionally. The Imperial Philippine National Army, Navy and PNP remains as
is. They take orders from Manila to suppress overt and hostile regional secessionist
movements and prevent fragmentation of our independent Filipino Republic. However,
the Filipino will no longer be one imperial Tagalog template but many. E Pluribus
Unum.From Many One.

Regional people empowerment is the modus operandi to enable the regional


economies to bloom and provide economic opportunities for our growing population.
The IRA distribution will be reversed. 70% of regional tax generated revenues will
remain within the regions to be used for their development and 30% will go to the
Federal government. Region also defined as State are interchangeable in meaning.
Taxation policy will be determined by the regions while the Federal government has
the option to also legislate a federal tax for national concerns. Senators &
Congressmen will represent regions. There will be regional or state courts, one Court
of Appeals and one Federal Supreme Court. Foreign policy, National Defense and
Security will be a Federal mandate. Elected regional Governor's aka Datus will have
executive powers like mini Presidents. The Governor will have a council of 12 elected
elders that creates regional or state policy. The Federal President has a cabinet which
scope and responsibilities are National. He can also be replaced by a Prime Minister
and Congress by Parliament as envisioned by Apolinario Mabini but that can come
later. Every 20 years we can open the core engine of our Constitution and upgrade,
amend, adjust or repeal irrelevant laws. But we walk first before we run.

If Federalism happens, we are back to the regional Datu dynamic but this time,
they are accountable to a National Federal Datu consistent to the rule of the land. It is
this respect and empowerment for regional powers by the Federal government and
respect of the regional powers of the imperial power of the Federal Sovereign that
gives a healthy balance. Still one Flag and one Filipino Constitution to rule us all,
called the Federal Republic of the Philippines.

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Towards A More Perfect Philippine Democracy: A Comparative Analysis.

But of course no foreign investor worth his/her salt really invests their hard
earned money in ventures they can't control. That's like throwing good money after
bad. That's like donating to charity because you will never ever have control of the
investment you made even if you invested billions of USD. Our entire business model
is a prelude to a scam. Of course we do scam a few of them but listen in ASEAN, we
hold the basement in attracting FOI's. Where we do attract investments is in industries
where ownership rules are more flexible like BPO's, car manufacturing et al. I am not
saying relax the ownership rules of the entire market but there needs to be more give
there so that we can attract more investments and therefore jobs. Otherwise, these
trips of our President to foreign shores is just a boondoggle. He is better off getting
loans from the World Bank and that's in fact what we do most of the time. We borrow
money instead of find worthwhile investments. They are on the account of the Pinoy
taxpayer when it‟s really unnecessary. We seem to be going round and round in circles
and this has been happening a very long time. If you would like investments, please
hire people that are pro-business. Let them advise you on how to generate capital, run
a business and how to make a profit. And maybe just maybe, there will be less poverty
round here and more people working. Yeah there are many of us that are lazy ass
indolents but there are also many that want to work if they can only find them. So let‟s
help them. There are many ideas of how we can change the dynamics so we can be
more productive and pro-business. Are you willing to listen?

Ok let's make this case for the Philippines simpler. Look at the states of
California, Illinois, Virginia and New York. Their economies are equivalent to entire
countries like Canada, Saudi Arabia, Thailand and South Korea. And there you see,
Arizona's economy is equivalent to the entire Philippines! Arizona is mostly arid desert
with a limited population of 6.7M Arizonians and yet, it ain't a slouch because its GDP
is equal to our Philippine nation of 100M. This means that Arizonians are over 10 times

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more productive than us Pinoys because they can generate the GDP of 100M
individuals and they even have a handicap because they also live in the desert! Wow!

I have to say that their Federal form of Government where states have their own
mandates to chart their own economic destinies has a lot to do with it. The locals are
involved in creating opportunities for themselves and their state. They assume
competence of their locals to figure it all out for themselves. There is a dynamic here
that works. Even China for whatever its resurgence chooses to invest its capital there
in the form of Treasury Bonds. There are combinations of factors but really the
environment the US has created for businesses to prosper has a lot to do with it. And
what is that? It‟s a free market, bro! Anyone can own anything if they can afford it!
They can come in and make their dreams happen. As I said this isn't rocket science.
We can do the same if we can work on dynamics that produce real results within the
land. If we empower our people and regions, this can happen too.

One other note, Americans are the most patriotic people on Earth. They love
their country, culture, history and people. So to me, there really is limited co-relation
between love of country, nationalism and business investments. That's a bogus idea or
perception designed to control us. Well, it has succeeded and an 'exclusive' economy
is what we get. Read Rappler's latest report on our economic demographics and weep.
There will be sell outs and there will be patriots. That's just the way it is. Now if we
have inclusive prosperity around here and more competition, perhaps there will be
more reasons to love our country because we can make a good living around here.
Other than that, it‟s all wishful thinking because what the point of loving something that
cannot love us back? So let‟s develop the mindset not of victims but of conquerors.
And we can do that with visionary and empowering national economic policy. America
did it. The Chinese are doing it. Why can't we?

Now picture a map of the entire lower United States with Imperial Washington
as the center and the entire US as one contiguous unit. Guess who gets the benefit?
The geographic areas near Washington DC will do while the outer states on the West

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Coast will be living in medieval times getting IRA handouts and not getting their fair
share of tax benefits while they give a lot of revenues to Imperial DC. In a Fed
dynamic, revenues from the state actually remain in the state for economic and local
infrastructure development with a smaller percentage up to 30% going to the Federal
government which is spent mostly on the Armed forces. Federalism really is just
another term of breaking down the states to manageble parts so they can then create
for themselves opportunities that the central government can not see simply because
they are bogged in the mindless details of running a government. They dont have to
wait or be dependent on Washington to move because they can move on their own
volition to chart their economic destiny.

Now in a federal dynamic, to those that wish to secede like the South during the
Civil War, the Army which is one will then sic on them for violating the Union which is
sacred. The Army which is empowered in the Federal level comes in when there is
need for disaster relief. It can be the National Guard who can do this. If there is a
national security issue like secessionist rebels, the army comes in to neutralize it gung
ho style. Cuz in a Federal Dynamic, the armed forces represents the entire
Government and not just one state or province paid for by federal taxes. It preserves
the Union so to speak. Basically when it comes down to simple terms, we simply dont
eat the entire pizza in one mouthful. We break it down to slices.. and then proceed to
manage it from there. Same with good government within an archipelagic setting like
the Phils. We simply cannot manage everything via a central government unless it‟s
just one city or one county we are managing. Some region will get less attention like
Mindanao because human beings simply cannot attend to them especially on local
matters no matter how competent they are because their attention span and
capabilities are limited. So break it down into manageable parts and then elect
competent executives to run them. The Cha-Cha already has that architecture. It‟s
broken to 12 Federal regions. If can be Presidential Federal if Parliamentary is a reach.
You can also break it down to Luzon Visayas and Mindanao Federal states with their
respective capitals. Either way is good because it will enable government to go to the
grass roots and be effective in harnessing potential for the glory of the Republic.

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Now you may be wondering.. well the US colonized us but why didnt they make us
Federal back then? Well it‟s because the entire idea of colonization was about control.
They wanted to control the islands and rule over us, not give us freedom. We were
their little brown brothers, not exactly their equals. They felt they had a 'manifest
destiny' to rule over us and save us from the savagery of ourselves. Spoken like a true
Colonial which was the mindset in Europe and the Americas. America experimented
with Colonialism because by then they were becoming a world power in the turn of the
19th century and they saw us as a base of expansion for the American ideals. Then
they realized colonialism was against their fundamental principles of government of the
people by and for the people, so eventually they abandoned most notions of it. It was
not their nature to conquer other countries rather help them be Democracies as well
and that holds true today in the Middle east. They come in and restore peace in the
land and then leave once they establish democratic government. Same with Japan
after WW2 and other countries they invaded like Iraq, etc. In the Philippine colonial
experiment, they didnt walk their talk. So eventually they gave us our Freedom so they
can also be consistent with their principles. But if they saw us as a US state, perhaps
they would have made us Federal as well because we were a large archipelago. Fast
forward now, Federalism is the natural evolution to our pursuit of a more perfect
democracy as well as the fulfillment of the idea of people power which was birthed in
EDSA in 1986. Federalism is people empowerment and good management of
government.

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Of Guerillas and Choleras

By PioGoco at the Goco Ancestral House, Taal (May 27, 2018)

When we did guerrilla tactics, we were able to advance our Republic's cause...
Then the American colonists responded with unspeakable cruelty and exterminated
even our civilian population. Back then in 1899 onwards, they could do it without
human rights watchdogs watching but now that is no longer possible. Hence the
Vietcong won over them in the Vietnam War. The lesson of American colonialism
under the pretext of 'Benevolent Assimilation' is an unspeakable one but in that
wartime catastrophe, we can see where we have been through as a nation. As we
bring this episode to light, then we will understand and see how we can strategize and
counter. For we have been hobbled, crushed and forced to submit.

From these horrid circumstances came the 'Cholera Epidemic' which a few of
my relatives also succumbed to. My Great Grandfather Katipunero Juan Goco's first
wife Tomasina Kasilag died of it. There are more.... American colonialism in the turn of
the 20th Century annihilated our patriotic spirit and erased our prior heritage. We were
deeply hurt, betrayed and permanently affected. We became a subdued and
subservient culture but now we know better...

For whatever happened in the past, this is not rant against Americans. For
certainly they redeemed themselves in the trenches during WW2 and Liberation. Our
blood became one with them. But the horror of our cruel engagement in the Philippine-
American War is on the historic record. The vestiges of that Colonial Imperial dynamic
remains. So we learn from it, see ourselves through that looking glass, ponder the
outcomes and we play the game to take back our patriotic spirit and pride as a
sovereign Republic. Please read below for context.

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(PioGoco shared a post by and from “we lost the name of the source” (June 3, 2018),
by The Compiler)

That is diplomatic double speak. Since Sec. Mattis cannot give a categorically
clear answer, that means it's fluid and it depends on the situation as it presents itself
incumbent upon US interests. Can DU30 count on that ambiguity? He can't and he
shouldn't.

The 1951 Mutual Defense Treaty is a relic of past geo-politics. Back then we
hosted major US bases which served as forward bases for US troops as they
prosecuted the Vietnam and the Korean War. Now we have repealed those bases
when our Senate voted not to extend their lease. Hence the MDT is no longer iron
clad.

Besides that, our Philippine Consti specifies that we pursue an independent


foreign policy that pursues our national interest and the preservation of our republic.
DU30 is pursuing precisely that and shifting the debate from war and threats to how we
can do business and engage in mutually beneficial bilateral arrangements with China
while at the same time upgrading our military capability.

To those that want to count on the US for our defense, I hate to burst your
bubble. On the basis of a few isolated shoals and islands where no one lives, they
won't be helping us. So please ramp down your hawk talk and let‟s find ways to
amicably bridge our differences with our next door neighbor up north. They are not
going anywhere. We can either enjoy China's neighborly company and obtain material
benefits from their prosperity, or we can complain endlessly about what is happening in
the Spratlys and get zilch.

In order that we can make the best decisions to favor us, let's look at our past
long- view history of Phil-China relations. You will see that they have always been
friendly with us since way back prior to Hispanization. There has been a lot of trade,

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business and cultural exchanges in between countries. A lot of Chinese nationals are
settled here now and have become Filipinos. They were never party to colonizing us
like Spain, the British, the US and the Japanese. For the most part, they have been
peaceful neighbors respecting our sovereignty. So why ruffle those feathers? We don't
have to. And to those who want to pick a fight with China, we will invite you to the front
lines when the Chinese cannons start blazing cuz Uncle Sam ain't coming to help us.

Versus Imperial Neo-Colonialism

By Pio Goco at the Goco Ancestral House, Taal (June 9, 2018)

To those who feel that American intervention is absolutely necessary in our


dispute with the Chinese, perhaps this recollection below will remind them of the heavy
price we had to pay for that decision. We are still paying for that wanton destruction
today. It doesn't mean we don't involve them at all in our affairs of state since they are
allies but history tells us that in matters of our supreme interest and national security,
make their involvement our absolute last card.

I am against Imperial Neo-colonialism. I am against giving our power to control


our destiny to outsiders. I say we hold our cards and keep holding them to protect our
civilians and our sovereignty. I may sound like I am a Marxist Socialist Leftist since I
co-opt their words from time to time but I am actually a Jeffersonian Reformist
Capitalist. I am an Aquilino Pimentel Federalist. In the US, I was a moderate Reagan
Republican that has its roots in the great Abolitionist Emancipation movement of Abe
Lincoln and William Wilberforce. There is no better system than a system whereby we
empower our people to pursue their happiness in a free exchange of goods and ideas.

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I am all for creating an environment where citizens can build their own economic
engines and private enterprises so it creates quality jobs for the people in the cities
and countryside.

I am not against the Oligarchy. But I am against monopolistic oligarchs who in


turn become robber barons and cacique lords of the manor. I am for a level playing
field and inclusive competition because competition brings out the best in us and
creates value for services rendered. I don't want 40 oligarchial families to engage in
our economy. I want 40 x 10 of these families scattered over the archipelagic regions.
We need to find ways to make that happen hence reforming our semi-closed
nationalist economy is necessary. Government should not be in the business of doing
business but rather creating the environment to bring about more business
investments and regulating those businesses to generate more taxes.

To me, DU30 is a reformist. He is of the mold of FVR, GMA and Aquilino


Pimentel Sr. He knows the entirety of his Philippine History and defends our
sovereignty. He is perhaps our last best hope to take us out of our dark ages of datu
patronage politics and dynamics. Yes he is crude, rude and prone to a bombastic
temperament but I am willing to overlook his mouth as long as he pursues necessary
and much needed reforms to take us forward. The proof of the policy pudding is in the
eating. He's charting that path.

We are now a nation of over 104M. Most of our working population is


concentrated and congested into a few cities. Many have gone abroad as OFW's.
They will find their hope and careers elsewhere. In the meantime, we must invest in
building our country, build more critical infrastructure so we can access and tap more
of our countryside for development and spread out our growing population.

So much of our land is locked into feudal dynamics. It is wasted and made
inefficient. Our national human potential is also wasted because of poverty. We need
food security. We can feed our country. Agriculture with Tourism, Private Enterprise

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and Investments in Industrialization can be our economic engines to progress. We
need capitalization. There is a lot of money abroad and in banks herein. A fair and
equitable way to bring in investments as opposed to loans is needed. If we can't
federalize, then abolish 60/40. Make it 55-45 in favor of foreign investors in most
commercial ventures. If foreigners come to our land, we must have representation and
a partner stake in all they do here period. It is win-win. Their capital can bring new
opportunities to bring quality jobs in our homeland.

What the colonialists did to us was terrible. The worst of their human nature was
made real here. They broke us and made us a subservient people. We became a
culture of maids and cheap labor, abused and then discarded. Our OFW nuclear
families are separated. We made so many sacrifices. And because we were used and
abused, we do the same to each other. We don't care for others but ourselves and our
families. We argue endlessly and incessantly. We crab each other in zero sum games
and our nation loses out. Our rate of change is measured by turtle in molasses pace.
We have been damaged as a culture and hobbled, but we are resilient. We became
collateral damage but we have the heart to overcome it.

We can always hope.. Our people need more work and they are willing to work.
There is nothing inherently wrong with the quality of Filipino labor. That is proven. They
just need more opportunities within. We need to lift each other up. We need to wake
up, smell the esteros and see the pariah kids and taong-grasa in our streets. We need
to recognize that the great Filipino masses are also made in the image and likeness of
God. That they have inalienable fundamental rights as equals. Among them life, liberty
and pursuit of their happiness. We were enslaved and denied this time and again even
by the very same people who enshrined these universal values. They destroyed our
land and justified murdering our civilians because they saw us as savages. We were
perceived as an inferior race just higher than dogs. We were condescendingly called
'little brown brothers'. We must redeem and reconcile ourselves with that narrative. We
must mend our hearts and raise ourselves up. Never again must we be abused and

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exploited that way. Our national dignity must always be protected. We embrace liberal
Democracy but we must also uphold our national interest.

The remaking of our nation as an American colony has its 'Stockholm Syndrome
effect'. In our submission and subjugation to them, we were abused and traumatized
and yet we still look up to and lean on big brother for all our major decisions. When
they ruled over the islands, they kept the imperial governing powers in effect to
command, control and exploit our natural resources. Those dynamics are still in place
today even if the Americans no longer have a visible military presence. Those vestiges
must be reformed. Sen. JovitoSalonga would be pleased.

Lastly, our National hero is Jose Rizal. His heroic virtues are well established.
His books revealed the hypocrisy of our Spanish Colonizers. He reminds us why we
embarked on this process of liberating our islands to begin with. He was executed at
Bagumbayan for his ideas. He was propped up as hero by our American big brother for
good reason. If we are the 51st state of the Union, Rizal would be a suitable hero
because he never advocated for independence but rather a voice in the Spanish
Cortes. But we are now an independent republic so therefore, we must look up to
those who aspired for liberty from our colonial oppressors. To me Emilio Aguinaldo is
that hero for he was present in all the critical stages in the formation of our
parliamentary democratic, free and independent Republic. He even envisioned and
conceptualized our national flag. He raised it in Kawit, Cavite.

We are David in the midst of Goliaths. With faith, hope, heart and the bravery to
uphold and stand, with lessons learned and with fierce conviction, we play our cards,
leverage, triangulate and exercise our power as an independent republic. May Divine
providence keep us in his hands and give wisdom to our leaders. May our history and
national psyche be healed. May we be able to defend ourselves. May our army be
strong. May our patriotic spirit rise again. May our national flag vividly wave... Our
proud colors ahead of us.... May we learn the lessons of our history and not repeat the

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same mistakes. Las Islas Pilipinas, we honor and salute you! Manila... May you rise
proud and whole again. And I say never again...!

Geo-Politics And The Cat of Deng Xiao Ping

By Pio Goco at the Goco Ancestral House, Taal (June 12, 2018)

This is the Democratization of historic Geo-Politics. A clear lesson in political


pragmatism. Seriously, the road to Singapore between Trump and Kim passed thru
'The Worm'. Dennis Rodman You Da Man!

If this meeting goes beyond just photo ops and brings about permanent peace
in the Korean peninsula, then we should ponder and set aside our prejudices for a
moment and see that flawed people and their understanding of human nature within
the spirit of pragmatism and getting things done can bring about these breakthrough
moments.

I feel the same about DU30 who is also perceived thru highly judgemental views
by those who cover him. However, it is not just the image we see on TV and the
perception we have of them that matters but the policies that will define the historic
long-term narrative and legacy of a leader.

We are all subject to being propagandized. We have our own isms, values,
beliefs, impressions, perceptions, judgements in how things are done. But Democracy
is not so much a pogi-elite only domain but also the people's domain. It is participatory
as it is inclusive. No one has a monopoly on smarts and common sense.

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Deng Xiao Ping said this.. And I quote.. 'It doesn't matter if the cat is black or
white. What is important is it catches mice.' We can depart from the image and look at
the meat of the substance. And in the case of perceived villains Kim Jung Un, Trump,
Rodman and DU30, as long as they catch mice and take us forward, I am perfectly OK
with that!

Fed Ex it? No Federalize It!

By Pio Goco at the Goco Ancestral House, Taal (October 2, 2014)

Had a productive set of meetings in Taal. Mulled a lot on economic policy with
Patriot Dennis Dizon. I am of the firm belief that we should just abolish our statist
Nationalist economy and let each Province decide what Economic policy fits them
since all policy is local. Whatever fits let them run with it. If a Province is better off
attracting Foreign Direct Investments via liberal business ownership policies, go for it.
If another Province says, they are better off Nationalist, heck let them stay with it. If
one Province wants to abolish 60-40 and say let the market dictate ownership, so be it.
If another Province prefers to be All Filipino, sige na Tsong. The important thing is
whatever works, go for it. Take initiative. Don't be passive. Want to go do a road show
in NY to seek capital investments? Go for it Gov! Want to float your Province in the
London stock exchange and sell shares, so be it! Want to sell Provincial bonds in the
HK or Paris Bourse to raise capital, who is stopping you? Want to adopt an
agricultural-focused economy or organics, that idea would be fresh! Want to go entirely
entrepreneurial in Maguindanao Province and build, build, build? Well, Build! Want to
try High Technology in the Sarangani Corridor, yeah Baby go make Pacman Proud!

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Want to be free market in Palawan? Go for the win! Want to do a Casino Economy ala
Las Vegas in the lahar desert towns of Tarlac Province? Kaching! Focus on solely a
Tourism economy in Batangas and Camarines Sur and Norte? Ala Eh! Want to be a
Banana or Coconut Republic in Quezon Province? Well go coco bananas! Want to do
all kinds of manufacturing in Lanao Del Norte and Sur? Factor it in!

The point is, go experiment! Go and test it and see if it works! Let them all
compete in the ideas market! Whatever works in the local can then be examined and it
can go National if it succeeds. If it fails, it‟s contained in one area or Province and the
damage need not be extensive. Go Federal and watch ideas fly! Just don't adopt one
economic policy for all because what is good for Luzon may not be good for Visayas or
Mindanao. No to Imperialism, yes to Federalism and giving control to Governors for
their economic policies. Yes to a strong National Army to repel and eliminate
secessionists threats and erode the idea that for as much as we are a mosaic, we are
one people, one Republic, one Nation. In all this, we empower people to look after
what is local. We assume they can run their own ship and know the context of their
Town and Province. That is the essence of Nationalism. We believe our Nation can
rise to the occasion, recognize their diversity of methods and opinion and take care of
their own.

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A Federalist Dynamic

By Pio Goco at the Goco Ancestral House, Taal (December 20, 2014)

We have serious quality of life issues in this country. Too much chaotic que
sera sera. Too little vision. Too little inspired, purposeful leadership and direction.
Manila suffers traffic gridlock daily due to severe congestion while most of the
countryside lives in the medieval times and destitution. There is way too much
exploitation and poverty, not enough prosperity and opportunity for more of us. To me
Federalism is the solution. We need to amend the Consti to abolish limiting economic
provisions that keeps us in a mendicant loans-based OFW consumption economy and
shift to a more open domestic- and foreign- investments based economy. We can
attract more FDIs but at this juncture, we can't because of the restrictions of 60/40.
We need to empower the provincial Governors to act and chart their own economic
policy of prosperity. We need to decentralize executive power from Imperial Manila and
bring more and more jobs to the countryside so there is a better quality of life in the city
and in the rural areas.

A centralized unitarian government was imposed upon us to control us. We must now
de-control and change that dynamic. We are not all square pegs. There are round
holes among us. Therefore, economic policy must be relevant to the locals as they
see fit. We must assume competence of the people, that they understand what's
happening around them and can act to shape their lives for the better. Their fates are
in their hands.

The individual has the power of making choices. If people can balance their
own household budget and live from year to year in the positive, they can run a
government. If one is faithful with less responsibility, then they will be faithful with
more. We must transition from top-down management to more consensus-type
management. Significantly cut down on red tape, more stimulus and incentives for
businesses to prosper and to create jobs. We need to build a more competitive

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environment. Let's encourage and reward initiative, originality and creativity for these
virtues bring new opportunities for high growth. Protect the patents! Protect original
ideas! Discourage copycats. Let‟s establish a National ID system that makes all of us
accountable to our government as government finds ways to deliver services to us
more efficiently.

A government of, by and for the people. Let‟s reform the justice system and
hasten the justice process for justice delayed is justice denied. Depart from the
parochial and poverty mentality into a prosperity mentality. Be more entrepreneurial.
Exercise your faith and courage in the realm of ideas and build something. Any dream
will do then pursue. Listen to the people and then articulate what they aspire for.
Surely, they will understand. I am sure they wish what all people wish. A better quality
of life, food on the table, good health, education for their children, a house and home,
freedom with responsibility, equality, diversity, dignity, a good job and a decent wage
aka pursuit of happiness, progress, change for the better, real and tangible hope, a
future. Let‟s Empower. Inclusive Growth implies that we empower. All that happens in
a Federalist dynamic.

Leaving A Presidential Legacy

By Pio Goco at the Goco Ancestral House, Taal (September 29, 2014)

Every President can leave a legacy on a Democracy, to improve it as it is fitting


and relevant. They can put their hand in it to change it if it‟s obsolete. It's called
Visionary Leadership. Our Democracy is obsolete and nearly everyone knows it. It
doesn't serve the over 50 percent of the population who are under it. It can be revised
and updated. PNoy has the power to do something about it. We don't simply have to

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sit down and take it. His Mom was the force behind the creation of the 1987
Constitution which brought forth this Democracy. We welcomed it with open arms and
embraced it totally. But it doesn't end there. A Democracy by name alone implies that it
is moving, changing, updating, and getting in line with the times we are in. The
question now is where is version 2.0?

History is giving this President an awesome opportunity to update and make


necessary changes to his mother's good work as is fitting in his generation. However,
there are no attempts to do this and now we all greatly bend towards it. An opportunity
for a worthwhile cause, a call to action and historic greatness missed.

Should we defend this Democracy when it's broken? It can be fixed but this
President refuses to act. Actually he did say he wants to amend it. He wants to extend
his term and clip the SC's powers but he is quiet on the Economic provisions. We have
outgrown this Democracy of ours. A great majority of people are screaming for some
air. But I guess many people in the know don't care. Where is the leadership? The
status quo sucks.

A Federalist Solution to Muslim Mindanao...

By Pio Goco at the Goco Ancestral House, Taal (February 1, 2015)

I would like to sue for peace in Mindanao but not in the context of appeasement.
In the present Bansangmoro framework, it simply may be too much of a reach.
Congress won't buy it. The Supreme Court will question its Constitutionality. But there
is a solution. Not Confederalism which leads to secession but Federalism which is
unity in diversity.

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Federalism is the next logical step in our Democratic process. PNoy could have
sold this vision early on for us and explained to the nation why he is aggressively
pushing it. It would give a measure of economic and cultural autonomy to Muslim
Mindanao and to other far off regions while preserving our unity as a nation. However,
I realize a greater majority of us really still don't understand what Federalism really
means since it was never part of our political culture. It may be an alien concept. And
since we are a relatively young democracy, we still have to truly grasp this system of
governance. Definitely it must be sold to the public and we have to fully understand its
inherent dynamics but once they know what it really means and how it positively
impacts local economies, enables local creativity which births local opportunities,
provides an environment for exchange and competition of ideas between provinces
which ideas can then be adopted nationally, respects regional and cultural diversity
and how empowering it is individually, as a nation pursuing Democratic aspirations like
ours, our people will embrace this idea. It is the Patriotic and progressive way.

I actually don't blame the Muslims for asking for autonomy. Little happens in
Mindanao via a Centralized Unitarian government. There are areas there that are still
living in the middle ages if not the dark ages. There are areas that are no mans land.
Maguindanao being one of them. They want autonomy because they feel they can do
better. In a Fed system, the Muslim's desire for progress can be attained while keeping
its region within a united Federal government of the Philippines. People want their lives
to matter. I don't begrudge the Muslims for trying. When I mean Muslims, I don't mean
those rebels who killed our SAFs. But the desire for self-determination is a natural
desire. People want tangible progress. They want to take initiative in their own paths to
prosperity. They want to attain their dreams and be better off. They want a more
responsive government. They don't want to be passive and wait all their lives for the
attention of a central government that is clearly not giving it because it‟s too far
geographically from where they are. Out of sight, out of mind. They want relevance.
They want government to acknowledge their cultural, archipelagic and religious
distinction.

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So the solution is Federalize. Accept that there is wide cultural and linguistic
diversity amongst us and there is room for all of us in our Republic. We can all get
along peacefully in Federal unity as Filipinos. Empower the masses. Assume
competency of the locals everywhere to run and manage their affairs while providing
for a common defense, peace and security. This makes sense and is the natural
evolution leading to a more perfect democracy.

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SECTION VII

FOOD, WHAT ELSE, BUTGOOD FOOD!

PioGoco is with Kalel Ervin Demetrio


at Agimat Foraging Bar and Kitchen

(May 23, 2018, Makati City)

A night out at Poblacion Makati is always a special treat. But hanging out with
good people of purpose, taste, class and kindred spirit is simply an excellent
experience. And with that let me thank these exemplary group of fellas who are
working to lift up our unique local flavors to world class.

So ladies first.. Who doesn't know Celebrity Chef Sabrina Artadi and the
charitable work she does for indigenous peoples, her soup kitchen for poor children,
her work promoting local ingredients and Hinilaban coffee in Bukidnon? Then add to
that her work in her TV show 'Sabrina's Kitchen' where she promotes local flavors and
cuisine as well. I can go on and on... Sabrina is the mother of successful re-invention
from international beauty queen to another ibang level. With a good heart and
compassion for the local and regional, surely having her company is a privilege for we
share the same heritage aspirations.

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Then we have Kalel Ervin Demetrio aka Liquido Maestro. He of the Agimat
Foraging Bar &Resto in Poblacion which is a must visit! I christened him Mad Scientist
but now to me he is Master Liquid Chef. Inventor of the 'Barik' Lambanog liquor and all
these unique and fascinating heritage concoctions in his new Pinoy bar which is
perhaps unprecedented in scope, originality and creativity. He takes pride in creating
new cocktails and flavors with special emphasis on native and indigenous ingredients.
He competes and elevates the Pinoy dining and drinking experience and I could not be
prouder of him because he is one of ours. He started at Cyma, was mentored by
Bro Robby Goco for many years and has become a bright light in the crafts liquor
industry firmament. Ibangklasekanatsong! Hindi kanamaabot! You are not just a
bartender, you're an Uber Artist that created your own niche. Galing!

And then we have the illustrious Renaissance Man Michael T Rodriguez. Mike
is a family man and a reputable Investment Banker Deal Maker du jour. He is a man of
numbers and ambitious projects but deep down, a sublime Chef and a great
appreciator of the Arts and Artists. Being well-travelled and a man of many languages
and cultures, I implicitly trust his palette. He knows essence and flavors and can break
it down to the minutiae. He knows trends, being an excellent prognosticator himself
and knows when you're on to something. So if you think you're doing something
special, let Mike try it first. If he affirms it, you're on the right track for his taste and his
sophistication is impeccable.

Then finally we have Aussies from Brisbane and now Boracay Tyson Branz and
his business partner Brendan Green. They of the Aklan distilled and bottled Sirena Gin
fame. They visited Manila on business but reached out to me to meet personally.
Listening to them as we went bar hopping out in Poblacion was so envigorating. They
are so gung ho about our local fruits and flavors. They have invested their time,
expertise and resources to create new liquor products based on our local produce. I
won't do the big reveal but they love what we have here. It‟s an untapped market for
our curious local fruits. They are like kids in a candy store with an eye for new and
innovative value added libations. And they love it here. They see opportunity. We have

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a beautiful country and if they can help lift it up by their good work, it would be a grand
win-win adventure.

And so that evening was such a pleasure for we all had something in common.
A passion for the local. An emphasis on heritage products and flavors made by proud,
loud and good Filipino-loving artisans. We share an appreciation for what we have
here that is already within the land. Don't look out. Look in! And there it is. The new
look of Sirena Gin! Thank you all for making your presence felt. It was a superb
evening! See you all again soon!

Chef Robby Goco, My Brother

By Pio Goco at the Goco Ancestral House, Taal (June 5, 2018)

Chef Robby Goco at 50 continues to raise the bar with original ideas for his
'Kain Na Republic'. In his career as a Chef, he has become a standard. He has been
bold. He has taken risks. He has created. He has been crabbed down, libeled,
slandered, taken advantaged of, hurt, misunderstood and disappointed. But he rises
above it because he is a true Filipino original. He is an Artist that does not rest on his
laurels. He is copied.

His ideas, products and dishes have been a source of livelihood for hundreds of
employees and their families. He has given them a career, a hope, a future and a
measure of dignity. Despite his success, Robby is a humble man. He does not live
grandly. He drives a family van. Even until now, he still stays at his over 10-year
townhouse in Casa Verde. It is not opulent despite his success. But in his house, there

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is a home with a soul. There is warmth. There is a family in an environment of nurture
and encouragement. There are children who love their Father and Mother. His friends
always gather there. There are smiles a plenty, compassion and generosity of heart.

Robby loves what he does and he insists his staff don't take shortcuts. Every
dish is meticulously planned and engineered because there is a vision. If it is done
right, his clients will be wowed by Filipino ingenuity, creativity and invention. It is all
about cozy hospitality and glorious down to earth food nabinabalik-balikan. No
pretensions. But for that to happen, commit yourself to his vision and make the dish as
he intended. His kind of Excellence is easy if you make it a habit. And it is true of
Robby for he has IT! He is the man with the golden tongue.

Destiny starts at 50 Bro. You have come a long way. Happy Birthday! Your best
is yet to come. :)

Farewell Anthony Bourdain

By Pio Goco at the Goco Ancestral House, Taal (June 11, 2018)

Losing Anthony Bourdain hurts. I keep wondering why this was so personal to
me. I haven't even met the guy. And I realized he made me feel like I was a dear close
friend. He was just so eloquent, candid, gritty, open and honest. His travel food
episodes were his immersive life stories that connected. Through his eyes, tastes and
words, we vicariously experienced the exotic food world as it is and it was so good.
Free of pretense and bs, he wasn't scared to share himself. That was really him in his
peripatetic feasts. It was 'Reality TV' at its finest.

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Perhaps he gave so much of himself in his work that by the time he woke up on
the fateful day of his death, he had nothing left. It was all poured out there. And since
he didn't do reruns, he just simply left like the rock star that he is. That is how I would
like to remember him. Bourdain has left the building...

Thank you Anthony for your time on earth. We beheld what was out there
because you saw fit to open our soul to it. We were enthralled... And now we are
heartbroken....

Cyma and Manang

By Pio Goco at the Goco Ancestral House, Taal (September 26, 2014)

Cyma Greenbelt just recently reopened. It now looks more spacious, beautiful
and grand. Its new dishes speak of more authentic Grecian culinary possibility. Its
walls and furniture have been updated and refurbished towards the times we live in.
There is a new old look and it is quite inviting.

At the center of this experience is "Manang's Table". It is dedicated to Ursula


"Manang Choleng" Orogo, our Bicolana Yaya who raised all of us during our youth.
She lived, stayed and managed us for 42 years of her life. She cooked delicious Pinoy
dishes for us. She had no children of her own so we became her children. She passed
away a year before the first Cyma was born so she never saw this fruit of her work in
our lives.

And yet... Her spirit is there. She lingers. There is a tribute done in her behalf.
All Cymas have Manang Choleng's table dedicated to her up front. When a dish is

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done, it crosses the Rubicon from the kitchen to the customer at her table. She blesses
it and makes sure it passes muster before it is served to all.

Cyma is a fond remembrance of her always. Without her, there will not be a
distinctive flourish in the dishes Chef Robby creates. She was a humble life in our
shared lives but this humility has become a Giant. And all is well in this restaurant
because she taught us all by her example to be excellent, to be great. It is only fitting
she gets this tribute.

Salamat Mama Manang Choleng. Nandito ka pa rin sa amin. Naaalala ka


namin. Napakaganda nang puso mo. Dala namin ito kahit saan kami patungo. Ooopa!

The Wonders of Noma Cuisine

By Pio Goco at the Goco Ancestral House, Taal (September 30, 2014)

There are obvious reasons why Noma is back on top as the World's Best
Restaurant. Their philosophy of only using the freshest locally grown produce that are
in season speaks much of their strategy. Their staff is also very creative. They do not
impose dishes that are not in season. Their menu always changes towards what's
fresh, and they are open. They go with the variables that are available and create
magnificent dishes out of them. Cooking is not a formulaic thing. If anything, if u keep
doing the same thing, it becomes boring. There are so many permutations to making a
superb dish. With all the ingredients at a chef's disposal, he or she can create works of
art that elevate the experience of dining.

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In essence, the world‟s best chefs are no longer just chefs, they are
consummate and creative artists masquerading as chefs. These chefs have command
of their medium. They love to discover. They are inherently curious. They taste and
they imbibe flavors. Then they think and let the tastes percolate in their head. Then
something bubbles. It is fluid. There is always this flow of ideas. Then they combine
the elements they have tasted in ways no one would think and make the familiar
unfamiliar. With their command of their skills and talents, they play mahjong. They look
for winning combinations. They turn things inside and out and yet they maintain the
structure and integrity that gives you an element of Wow. There is a balance of flavors.
It floats! You would think those ingredients can't be combined, but it can and its bliss to
the tongue. This is what Noma does special. U say to yourself, why didn't I think of
that?

They elevate cuisine to a magnificent experience. There is no such thing as an


ingredient that is mundane. They are all stars of the show with the chef-conductor
bringing out their flavors and letting them shine through. To Noma, being recognized
globally is to source locally. As local as can be. Learn your craft but don't be dogmatic.
Go with the flow. Go around. Witness what's in season. Discover and keep tasting.
Appreciate what u have around you and create wonderful things with what you have,
not with what you don't. Then watch the eyes bulging. Watch the taste buds exploding.
They are dumbfounded, one can do such a delicious dish using typical or foraged
items in the local garden! The flavors are superb! And that's why its #1. Because
restaurants have always been about foraging and gathering local ingredients. Noma is
simply elevating it, creating unprecedented moments and bringing dining to an
amazing and heavenly experience.

I should know, when they came to visit us, they wowed us with dishes that came
from our country. They made us proud of what we had and made us appreciate that
what we had was good enough if we can only look at our diversity of produce closer.
So thank u Yannick Van Aeken, Louise Bannon and Glen Ramaekers. Thank you for
teaching us that we need not go far for eye-popping experiences in cuisine. The

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variables are all here. All we need to do is play a little and surely we will find all we
need to know to bring magic in everyday life. So Congrats Noma for being #1 again!
Next time you come round, please come and take the "Ala Eh" experience with me and
get to know Taaleno Cuisine and Southern Tagalog Hospitality. That would be
awesome!

For The Love of Esau's Lugaw

By Pio Goco at the Goco Ancestral House, Taal (September 26, 2014)

I have been helping my brother Robby with a speech lately. It‟s a bit drawn out
but there was one thing that caught me. There was actually a comfort food that
changed the world. Guess what it is? It's the humble porridge aka lugaw. Do u know
the story? It is all about Jacob and Esau. Esau is the elder, Jacob is the younger. In
the old times, the birth right went to the older sibling. It‟s like the right to be Ruler and
King over the land. The senior son or sibling always gets it. Imagine William and Harry,
the sons of Charles and Diana. William is older, Harry the younger. William gets to be
priority one in line to the throne of England simply because he is more senior than
Harry. Ok get it? Good.

Anyway in the Kingdom of Isaac, Esau was the one. He was William. Jacob was
Harry. That is all said and done. One day, Esau comes in hungry as can be since he
spent the whole day in the fields doing his thing. Jacob was cooking some succulent
lugaw with a scent that's delicious and beckoning. Esau the elder smells this and
knows he has to have some. Jacob bargains for his lugaw. Not if you give me your
birthright you won't. Wow, the gall of the 2nd one. To ask his brother his birthright for a

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bowl of porridge. But what's most controversial is, the Brother Esau accepts that
proposal! I mean double portion of Wow!

The point is not that Esau accepts the trade, that is human nature. The point is
the porridge, the lugaw. It must have been a darn good one! And that is the story of the
lugaw that made Harry este Jacob the promised one.

PS: Jacob then goes on and has his name changed to Israel and his 12 sons
become the patriarchs of the original 12 tribes of the nation Israel. Jacob and sons rule
the kingdom and become the affirmation of blessing for Abraham. All this because of
some real fine lugaw which got Esau. Ahem, Manang... pabili rin nang Isaw kasama
nang lugaw. It's "Goodah" to be the King! Burp!

For The Love of Balut & An Exegesis on Western Society

By Pio Goco at the Goco Ancestral House, Taal (April 25, 2015)

Balut is a Filipino culinary delicacy. It is quite myopic of NYC animal rights


activists to petition the courts to have this delicacy banned. It's not like you are eating
a dog or a cat. It‟s a duck egg albeit fertilized and we eat duck all the time! There is
Peking duck, Roast duck, Crispy Duck Noodle Soup, Duck U, Duck Foo Man Chu and
a host of other duck everything. Eating Balut is an acquired taste if you're curious
about it. Maybe this dish is offensive to Western sensibilities and maybe perceived as
barbaric? I don't know but the western mindset should broaden itself. Just because
it's unfamiliar and at first glance perhaps gross doesn't mean it‟s not kosher or
acceptable. I would suggest if you don't like it, don't eat it. But why ban it?

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This is another reason why it‟s no longer fun in many places in the US. They have
made nearly everything so politically correct and intolerant, it‟s oppressive. It‟s so
antiseptic, it's boring. I mean go to most neighborhoods everywhere. So many kids
are stuck to their computers all day long playing fantasy video games and watching
whatever it is they are watching. Rarely anyone is out there talking to each other.
Rarely is anyone making real honest-to-goodness friendships and real connections
with neighbors. There is rarely any ambient neighbor noise nor laughter. They don't
even know each other and they live next to each other. Everyone is connected via FB,
Twitter and Instagram and yet there is so much loneliness and isolation going on. Why
do you think depression, suicide and random killing incidence rates are way up among
kids? And to think they are developing more virtual reality 3D fantasy based
technologies to keep u in your couches all day long. It's all mostly hi-tech, virtual
sensurround now and that's no way to live. Life is to be experienced. It‟s best when
we hold hands and see real faces, sit down, talk and shoot the breeze! Life is best
lived when we engage and interact amongst each other without 'Cellfish' technology
getting in the middle. And this takedown is another move by a society increasingly
detached from the real.

Balut is a duck egg for crying out loud! Just add rock salt and gulp it down with
some ice cold beer to boot, Super! Have a little fun will you! Chill a little. It won't kill
you. It even has properties as an aphrodisiac. U might even have a baby because
you ate it. And everyone knows the western world needs more babies otherwise, there
goes Western civilization and it‟s already happening! Have you seen the birth rate in
Europe and places out west? It‟s on a death spiral! Where oh where is the love?

At any rate, let me stop this rant and go to the market to get some Balut. I'm
getting hungry! Manang isang Balut nga? Gusto ko mainit ha? Isang malamig na San
Mig na rin! Bottoms up! Cheers! Burp! Saraaap!

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+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

(END FOR NOW, July 28, 2018, whew!, The Compiler. Watch out and wait for
the next volume or edition of Pio Goco’s eBook. MORE COMPLETE, WITH
PICTURES TOO … but for sale)

Amen. Alleluia!

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

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NOTES FROM THE PUBLISHER and founders of Edukad-IOT
(A.K.A The Original Preface)
Not for the gentle-of-heart, so don‟t feel obligated to read the following:

Why a book like this, and by Pio Goco.


There is a pandemic of wrong thinking in the Philippines. And it borders on
madness. I personally just want to reframe it as mere funny or katawatawa, so that I
will not go mad myself.

I don‟t want to play on words here, but this “pandemic-of-wrong-thinking” in the


Philippines is actually a sort of a pandemonium already. Pandemonyo na nga! At dahil
pandemonyo, marami ang naghahasik ng kalituhan . . . even proudly calling it
katalinuhan. These confusions mixed with mislaid intellectual-pride reign wherever
there are issues that suddenly are the brain-of-contention for the day, for the week, or
for the month. Or yearly. And there are undying historical contentions from even the
pre-Hispanic days up to now. So the servings and consummating (of recycled historical
left-overs) of these “misunderstanding The Other” are endless unli-dishes both
backward and forward in time.

But what are the recent pandemonyong pandemic about The Other? Here:

Filipinos of all shapes, sizes, and ranges in IQs will tend to always ATTACK
WHAT THEY DO NOT FULLY UNDERSTAND.

You will see and read these in the postings of members of cultic-pseudo-
religions attacking the Catholic Church without first FULLY and REALLY understanding
the fundamental and most basic many-centuries-old doctrines and catechism of this
Church. (Can they not just explain their own beliefs and refrain from attacking others?).
They are always attacking The Other, as if proving that if they can prove The Other as
wrong, they are already proving that their own religion is right. Which is actually wrong-
thinking and which is a foolish way of understanding The Other again. But then again,

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why do they attack what they refuse to FULLY understand? (siguro para they will be so
busy attacking The Other na hindi na nila makita na ang sarili nilang doktrina ay mali
rin o mas mali pa pala!)

On the other hand, you have some loud and noisy priests and nuns and some bishops
who are pontificating on things which are beyond their practical experiences, expertise,
calling, authority, and responsibility. Cmon, why can‟t they just be quiet and pray and
manage efficiently what are within their control and authority instead of lecturing others
on how to conduct lawful and tactical police operations in seedy and dangerous dark
alleys? Or on how to solve the violent, irrational, crazy and ARMED illegal-drug
industry? It is an industry and it is armed and it is violent by itself, with or without
government interference. May I ask too and therefore, if killing or harming or disabling
others are evil and bad per se, why are there ARMED Security Guards guarding
Catholic Churches and Catholic schools and Catholic properties?

And the attack on the idea of Federalism (it is still in the realm of ideas in our
country, but)! Why are there people who are into the auto-mode of simply just attacking
it, without fully understanding it first?

Summing up, marami ang umaatake sa tinda ni Duterte, pero ang tanong . . .
NASAAN ANG INYONG TINDA? Sige nga. Nasaan? Yan din ba yung tinda ninyo from
1986 to 2016? Wala nang bibili nyan. Sori po.

And of course, the most common is the MISUNDERSTANDING AND NOT-


UNDERSTANDING President Duterte . . . who hahaha can simply understand all of us,
that‟s why he can even crack jokes about the foibles of the hypocrites, the
idiosyncrasies of the pious and the evil-scheming of polite people. (Those evil and
most influential and big-donors in Churches, people who cannot be offended by the
too-polite Catholic Church are now being offended by the too-offensive Duterte, so
what‟s wrong with that?) You abused your freedom? You deserve your Duterte.

Pero yung mga napipikon ni Duterte are in groups too! Oh how so well are their
ways to contemplate-then-howl in groups. When Fr. Robert Reyes howls, expect the
Mother Mananzan to be howling somewhere too. This is fun. This group-howling which

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deserves another eBook. Awuuuuuu. Awuuuuu! Ano nga rin ba ang TINDA NINYO?
Ah yung itinitinda ninyo nung 1986 to 2016? Wala na rin pong bibili nyan. Sori po.

That is why we have this eBook by Pio Goco.

But why nga read Pio Goco‟s essays and how he defends Duterte and
Federalism? Because he is credible and has integrity. What is this credibility and
integrity? Answer: because he himself declared that DU30 is not his idol. In fact, Pio
can “help” both the haters and lovers of Duterte by helping them understand Duterte
first before they can properly hate or love Duterte. And he has other Non-Duterte
essays: profound, easy-to-digest, masustansiya, perspective-changing . . . a wide
sweeping coverage about Life from his being a Goco and Primicias to funerals and
parties and food. There is even an essay about Libog. And The Joy Of Knowing Mary,
yes an essay about The Mary of Jesus. Also read too and enjoy how Pio Goco
defends and uplifts the once-embattled good monsignor, The Monsignor Alfredo
Madlangbayan.

Better still, just experience Pio with all your six senses. You can see, smell,
taste, hear, feel and sixthsense Pio as he will host an Ilustrado Lunch for you in his
Ancestral House with a bonus of tour-guiding in the Heritage Town of Taal with the
StoryTaaler, Bennet. For tour skeds, find Pio in Facebook = Pio Goco. He writes
almost all these Facebook essays here at his Goco Ancestral House too. So, discover
also what‟s in his house that can turn everyone into Patriots. All these to make this
country move forward.

All these to make this country move forward? Yes, that is why there is an
EdukadIOT AmoroSources Publishing. Publishing this ever-first book of Mr. Pio Goco!
Yehey.

The publisher of this eBook is EdukadIOT, which delivers eBooks, online and
onsite learning, seminars, and trainings for everyone with “a punch and a kick”,
because “kadyot” in Bicol could be a very bad naughty word too. We want to kadyot
the learning systems in the Philippines because we believe it is presently not prolific,

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sterile, and impotent (hindi na tinitigasan!). Thus our corporate slogan: “Making Love
With Data and Info So That Knowledge Can Go And Multiply”.

With Edukad-IOT, the Educational Establishment will soon be using our


Edukad-IOT‟s slogan for progress: “Sa ikauunlad ng Bayan, Pag-aaral na May
Karadyutan ang Kailangan. Olrayt! Kadiotan Na”

Seriously, Edukad-IOT is Education about the coming Internet-Of-Things slash


Big Data slash Deep Learning slash Business Intelligence slash Dark Web
Explorations. It is UltraHighTech Mega-to-the-Max CyberCompany which prepares the
learning culture for the coming of all upcoming high-tech innovations and inventions . .
. even if they are still in their ambiguous and undefined state. And we are doing this
from and for the grassroots! Collaborative and Creatively Conspirational from the
ground . . . then up! Not from high up above us: the halls of Congress, Cabinet-level
meetings and the oligarchic corporate offices. So this kinda high-tech progress will not
be imposed from high up above and outside, but from within the LOOB of Pinoys.
From the roots of the grass!

See, ganun kami ka-forward looking sa Edukad-IOT, it is so ahead-of-its-time, it


can even fall off the cliff of techno-speculations, WITHOUT THE GRACE OF GOD. So
you readers must help us rin ha. Buy our eBooks, visit our websites, post in our
Facebooks, attend our seminars, learn in our tutorials, donate to us your extra laptops,
computers, cellphones, and some idle time of your girlfriends. Sa amin nakasalalay
ang tunay na pag-unlad ng Pilipinas. We have this techno-messianic complex in our
psyche and we are proud of this complex that we even want to simplify it and infect
everyone. This is our cure for the pandemic of wrong-thinking in the Philippines. Our
communication objective is simple: TO MAKE THE COMPLEX, UNDERSTANDABLE,
INTERESTING, FUNNY AND SIMPLE, SO THAT KNOWLEDGE CAN MOVE
PEOPLE. And of course, Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam!

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eBook Titles ready for downloading are the following:

This eBook: Understanding Duterte and Other Sumptuous Essays by Pio Goco (2018)

Supremo and Ultimo Leadership Manual by Bennet Amoroso (2015)

About The Catholic Church Bo Sanchez Will Not Tell You by Bennet Amoroso (2014)
(too wild, still being polished. You want the wild orig unpolished one? PM me, Bennet
StoryTaaler)

Buhinon Doble Siete, My Crazy Memoir by Bennet Amoroso (2018) (this is in Buhinon
dialect)

Still in the works at kailangang abangan nyo are our other four eBooks:

1. Simplified Physics for the Next Generation Geeks


2. Simplified Machine Learning
3. Preparing the Philippines for the IOT Big Data Society
4. Computer Repair and Maintenance and Networking (A Tesda Manual)

The authors of these four eBooks are the following:

Bennet Amoroso, BS Electrical Engineering (Mapua Tech / Feati University, Phils)

Dexter Amoroso, BS Computer Science (University of Nueva Caceres, Phils)

Dr. Estrella Yago, PhD (Philippine Women‟s University / Phil State College of
Aeronautics, Phils)

Romy JR Amoroso, BS Business Administration (Ateneo de Naga University, Phils)

Dao Thi Ngan, BS BioTechnology (Ho Chi Minh Open University, Vietnam)

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“Take advantage of us now” as we are distributing all these for free. But the next
more complete and more polished versions and editions will be for sale. (ah, you like
them unpolished like rice? And slightly raw like your steak?). Hahaha. We might sell
both and all kinds and they will move you and this country forward!

Bennet Amoroso & Dexter Amoroso


Edukad-IOT Founders and Publisher
0995 679 6602 heritours@yahoo.com

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Communication Objective of Edukad-IOT AmoroSOURCES Publishing: To make the
complex, understandable, interesting, funny and simple, so that knowledge can move
people. “Making Love With Data and Info So That Knowledge Can Go And Multiply”.

TITLES COMING SOON

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